Context: Lok Sabha passed the Demands for Grants for Budget 2023-24 and the Appropriation Bill by a voice vote without any discussion. Speaker applied guillotine and put demands for grants of all ministries to vote.
Guillotine in the context of Indian legislature
- Discussion on a matter of general public importance can take place only when motion made with the consent of the presiding officer.
- Guillotine is a type of motion which falls under the category of closure motion.
It is a motion moved by a member to cut short the debate on a matter before the House. If the motion is approved by the House, debate is stopped forthwith and the matter is put to vote.
Types of closure motions
(a)Simple Closure: It is one when a member moves that the ‘matter having been sufficiently discussed be now put to vote’.
(b)Closure by Compartments: In this case, the clauses of a bill or a lengthy resolution are grouped into parts before the commencement of the debate. The debate covers the part as a whole and the entire part is put to vote.
(c)Kangaroo Closure: Under this type, only important clauses are taken up for debate and voting and the intervening clauses are skipped over and taken as passed.
(d)Guillotine Closure: It is one when the undiscussed clauses of a bill or a resolution are also put to vote along with the discussed ones due to want of time (as the time allotted for the discussion is over).
In legislative parlance, to “guillotine” means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business. It is a common procedural exercise in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.
- Parliament goes into recess of three weeks after the presentation of the budget. This recess allows Standing committees of the house to examine the demands for grants and presenting its report for the same.
- After the reassembly of the Parliament , Business Advisory committee (BAC) prepares a schedule for the discussion on demands for grant , but due to paucity of time BAC picks up few selected ministries for the discussion.
- Once the House is done with these debates, the Speaker applies the “guillotine”, and all outstanding demands for grants are put to vote at once. This usually happens on the last day earmarked for the discussion on the Budget. The intention is to ensure timely passage of the Finance Bill, marking the completion of the legislative exercise with regard to the Budget.