Session of Parliament: (Article 85, 86 and 87)


  • Article 85(1) empowers the President to summon the Sessions of each House of Parliament. The word “Session” refers to the period commencing with the first meeting of the House of the Legislature duly summoned by the President.
  • The President may summon the Sessions of each House of Parliament time to time. However, this right of the President is subjected to the condition that six months shall not intervene between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for the first sitting in the next Session of the house. Thus, there shall not be an interval of more than six months between Sessions of a House. However, the stipulation of six months intervening period between the two Sessions is inapplicable to a dissolved House.”

Prorogation of the House [Article 85 (2)(a)]:

Prorogation of the House means the termination of the Session. A prorogation ends a Session. After prorogation, if the House is to meet, it is to be summoned in Session by the President. The period between the prorogation of the House and its reassembly in a new Session is termed as Recess. The power to prorogue the House is vested with the President under Article 85 (2)(a).

Adjournment and Adjournment Motion:

Adjournment Motion is a device to bring before the House something which is not mentioned in the agenda or the order papers, of which the members of the House have no prior notice, but it is so important the it must be brought to the notice of the House. It is a motion for the adjournment of the scheduled business of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.

An adjournment motion can be moved only with the initial consent the presiding officer of the House, i.e., the Speaker or the Chairman, after a notice to him, early in the morning, before the commencement of the sitting of the House.

If the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, does not come the motion can be moved only with the leave of the House, given after less than 50 members rise in their places in support of the motion.

There is difference between “adjournment motion” and “adjournment of the House.” Adjournment motion is moved to discuss a definite matter urgent public importance. While the House may be adjourned by Presiding Officer, in the case of a grave disorder arising in the House. It may be adjourned for a time to be named by the Presiding Officer or Sine die, i.e. indefinitely. An adjourned House can be recalled only by the Presiding Officer of the House. The President has no power to rescind the adjournment.

Difference between Adjournment and Prorogation:

Terminates a sitting, not a session of the house. Not only terminates a sitting, but also a session of house.
Done by Presiding OfficerDone by the President of India.
Does not affect bills or any business pending before the houseAll pending notices will lapse only in case of Prorogation. It will also not affect bills, or any business pending in house.

Dissolution [Article 85(2)(b)]:

  • A dissolution ends the very life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
  • Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution. Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution.

The dissolution of the Lok Sabha may take place in either of two ways:

  • Automatic dissolution: On the expiry of its tenure – five years or the terms as extended
    during a national emergency.
  • Order of President: If President is authorized by CoM, he can dissolve Lok Sabha, even before the end of the term. He may also dissolve Lok Sabha if CoM loses confidence and no party is able to form the government. Once the Lok Sabha is dissolved before the completion of its normal tenure, the dissolution is irrevocable.

Effect of Dissolution

When the Lok Sabha is dissolved or when the dissolution of the House takes place, it affects the pending Bill as discussed below: 

  • A Bill which originated in the Lok Sabha and is yet pending therein. During the pendency of the Bill, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Bill shall lapse.
  • A Bill which originated in the Lok Sabha, passed by it, transmitted to the Rajya Sabha and is pending therein. During the pendency of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Bill shall lapse.
  • A Bill which originated in the Rajya Sabha passed by transmitted to the Lok Sabha and is pending therein. During the pendency of the Bill in Lok Sabha, the House is dissolved, the Bill shall lapse.
  • A Bill which originated in the Rajya Sabha and yet pending therein. During the pendency of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Bill shall not lapse.
  • A Bill passed by both the Houses of Parliament, sent to the President for his assent. During the pendency of the Bill with President, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Bill shall not lapse.
  • On a Bill (non-Money Bill) deadlock has resulted in the two House of Parliament. Before the President notifies his intention under Article 108, to summon a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Bill shall lapse.
  • In case of deadlock in the two Houses of Parliament, the President has notified his intention under Article 108 to hold a joint sitting of the Houses. After such Notification, the Lok Sabha is dissolve the Bill shall not lapse. The dissolution of the Lok Sabha shall have no effect on the holding of the joint-sitting of the Houses. Bill passed at such a joint sitting shall be deemed to have be passed by both the Houses.

Rules of Procedure (Article 118)

Article 118 (1) empowers each House of Parliament to make rules for regulating its procedure and the conduct of its business. However, this rule making power is to be exercised subject to the provisions of the constitution. As regards the Procedure with respect to the joint sitting of the two Houses and communications between the Houses, the President may make Rules in consultation with the Presiding Officers of both the Houses.

President’s Address:

  • Article 86(1) of the Constitution provides that the President may address either House of Parliament or both Houses assembled together, and for that purpose require the attendance of members. However, since the commencement of the Constitution, there has not been any occasion when the President has addressed either House or both Houses assembled together, under the provision of this article. 
  • Article 87 provides for the special address by the President. Clause (1) of that article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons. Such an Address is called ‘special address’; and it is also an annual feature. No other business is transacted till the President has addressed both Houses of Parliament assembled together. The time and date of the President’s Address are notified in the Parliamentary Bulletin,
  • This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together. If at the time of commencement of the first session of the year, Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved, and Rajya Sabha has to meet, Rajya Sabha can have its session without the President’s Address. This happened in 1977, when during the dissolution of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha had its session on 28 February 1977 without the President’s Address. In the case of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected.
  • Under Rule 17 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, discussion on matters referred to in the President’s Address takes place on a Motion of Thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member. The form of the Motion is:— “ That the Members of Lok Sabha assembled in this session are deeply grateful to the President for the Address which she/he has been pleased to deliver to both the Houses of Parliament assembled together on [ ] date.” 
  • The notice of the Motion, given by a member and seconded by another, is received through the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs (and through the Leader of the House in case the Prime Minister is not the Leader of the House), and after it is admitted by the Speaker, the Motion is published in the Bulletin and the List of Business. 
  • Likewise, in Rajya Sabha, Rules 14 to 21 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business provide for the procedure to be followed for Motion of Thanks and discussion on President’s Address, which is similar in nature to that of Lok Sabha.

Conduct of Business

Oath or affirmation by members [Article 99]: The business in the Houses of Parliament is initiated with the oath taking ceremony. Article 99 requires that every member of either House shall before taking his seat, make and subscribe before the President, or person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or affirmation, according the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution. Non-compliance of this requirement entails penalty under Article 104.

Voting in House [Article 100]:

  • Article 100(1) says that all questions at any sitting of either House or at a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament, shall be determined by a simple majority of the members present and voting. The Chairman or the Speaker or a person acting as such, shall not vote in the first instance. He shall exercise a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
  • Existence of any vacancy in the membership of the House does not affect its functioning. The House shall have power to act and conduct its proceeding notwithstanding any vacancy therein.
  • Article 100 does not require that a member present in the House must vote on a notice of motion. It is open for him to vote or abstain from voting There is no illegality on the part of the member of a House in abstaining from voting at the time when notice of motion was being considered by the House

Voice voting is the preferred method of decision making by Indian Parliament. MPs in favour of a decision call out “Ayes” and those opposed say “Noes”. The Speaker then takes a call on which voices were louder and conveys the decision of the House. The rules of procedure of Lok Sabha do not mandate recording of votes of MPs for every decision taken. Voice voting does not reveal the individual positions taken by MPs. If the decision of speaker is not challenged, it will be considered accordingly. And if challenged:

  • He shall order that the Lobby be cleared.
  • After the lapse of three minutes and thirty seconds, he shall put the question a second time and declare whether in his opinion the ‘Ayes’ or the ‘Noes’ have it.
  • If the opinion so declared is again challenged, he shall direct that the votes be recorded either by operating the automatic vote recorder or by using ‘Aye’ and ‘No’ Slips in the House or by the Members going into the Lobbies.

Division Vote: on the other hand, records how each MP voted on a particular motion. For example, during the passage of the Land Acquisition Act in 2013, Left party MPs moved amendments to the government’s bill and asked for a division on their amendments. Parliamentary record indicates that they lost the vote and the Bill was passed without incorporating their amendments.

  • Divisions also provide insights into the participation of MPs in the legislative process. When a Bill is passed by a voice vote there is no record of how many MPs were present in the House during the passage of a law. For example, there are currently 542 MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha. However, division data on the Triple Talaq Bill indicates that less than half of them were in the House to take part in the voting on the Bill.
  • Division is only mandated for a set of motions which require a special majority of the house to be passed. For example, constitutional amendment bills have to be passed by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House “present and voting”. To ensure that this condition is fulfilled, a division is called for. On other occasions, individual MPs have to ask for a division. During the term of the last Lok Sabha (2014-19), voting by division was held only on 108 occasions. Only half of these were asked for by MPs, the other half related to constitutional amendment bills.

Quorum for meetings [Article 100 (3)]:

  • Clause (3) of Article 100 provides that until Parliament, by law, provides, the quorum to constitute a meeting of either House of parliament shall be one-tenth of the total number of members of the House. Parliament may, by making a law, provide a different rule in this respect.
  • The purpose of quorum is to ensure that there is proper transaction of business and the decision taken epitomises the representative character. The Madhya Pradesh High Court in Than Singh v. State of Madhya The concept of quorum is basically a safeguard against the apprehension that a minuscule persons or members may boast of having taken a decision on behalf of the body even though the large body of members are unaware or not parties to the decision. 

Absence of Quorum [Article 100 (4)]: Clause (4) of Article 100 requires that if at any time there is no quorum, the Chairman or the Speaker or person acting as such, shall adjourn the house or suspend the meeting until there is a quorum. It has been declared a duty of the Chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be, not to conduct proceeding of the House, until there is a quorum.

Rights of Minister and Attorney General

Every Minister and the Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak and take part in the proceedings of either House, any joint sitting of the Houses and any Committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member. But he shall not be entitled to vote. For Instance, Ministers who are elected to the Lok Sabha participate in the discussion in Rajya Sabha and certain Parliamentary committees. However, they are not entitled to vote where they are not authorized to.

Devices of Parliamentary Proceedings:

  • The first hour of every sitting of Parliament is generally reserved for the asking and answering of questions.
  • Parliamentary question is a technique of parliamentary surveillance over functioning of the government. Members of Parliament are free to ask questions to elicit information on matters of public importance
  • and concern from ministers of the government. 
  • The members of the government are bound to answer every question asked in the Question Hour.
  • Questions enable Ministries to gauge the popular reaction to their policy and administration.
  • Unless the Speaker otherwise directs, not less than 15 days’ notice of a question shall be given. Notice of a question shall be given in writing to the Secretary- General and shall specify
    • The text of the question
    • The official designation of the Minister to whom the question is addressed.
    • The date on which answer to the question is desired, and the order of preference, if any, for its being placed on the list of questions, where a member tables more than one notice of questions for the same day.
    • A member who desires an oral answer to one’s question shall distinguish it by an asterisk. If the member does not distinguish it by an asterisk, the question shall be placed on the list of questions for written answer.

Types of Questions

Questions are of four types: Starred, Unstarred, Short Notice Questions and Questions addressed to private Members.

  • Officer of Lok Sabha is one to which a member desires an oral answer in the House and which is distinguished by an asterisk mark. Supplementary questions can be asked thereon. 
  • Officer of Lok Sabha – which desires written answer to whom it is addressed.
  • A Short Notice Question relates to a matter of urgent public importance and can be asked with shorter notice than the period of notice prescribed for an ordinary question. Like a starred question, it is answered orally followed by supplementary questions.
  • Question addressed to Private Member is asked when the subject matter pertains to any Bill, Resolution or any matter relating to the Business of the House for which that Member is responsible.

Importance of Question Hour:

  • Holds ministers accountable for the functioning of their ministries.
  • Raises important issues on constituency, national and International matters.
  • Elicit Wider Debates on important issues of national importance.
  • Exposes financial irregularities of various government institutions.
  • Enable ministries to gauge the popular reaction to their policy and administration.
  • Enables members to ventilate the grievances of the public in matters concerning the administration.
  • Bring to timely notice many policy loopholes which otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
  • It leads to appointment of Commissions or sending controversial Bills for further scrutiny to Parliamentary Committees.

Zero Hour:

  • The time immediately following the Question Hour and laying of papers and before any listed business is taken up in the House has come to be popularly known as the `Zero Hour’. As it starts around 12 noon, this period is euphemistically termed as `Zero Hour’. 
  • For raising matters during the ‘Zero Hour’ in Lok Sabha, Members give notice between 8.30 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. every day to the Speaker stating clearly the subject which they consider to be important and wish to raise in the House. 
  • It is, of course, for the Speaker to allow or not to allow for raising such matters in the House. 
  • The term `Zero Hour’ is not formally recognised in our parliamentary procedure. 
  • At present, twenty matters per day as per their priority in the ballot are allowed to be raised during “Zero Hour”.
  • However, since there is no provision in the rules regarding ‘Zero Hour’, hence there is no maximum limit on the number of matters that can be raised on any given day.


The term `motion’ in parliamentary parlance means any formal proposal made to the House by a Member for the purpose of eliciting a decision of the House. It is phrased in such a way that, if adopted, it will purport to express the judgement or will of the House. Any matter of importance can be the subject matter of a motion. The mover of a motion frames it in a form in which he/she wishes it ultimately to be passed by the House and on which a vote of the House can conveniently be taken.

Different types of Motions:

Motions may be classified into three broad categories, namely, substantive motions, substitute motions and subsidiary motions.

  • A substantive motion is a self-contained, independent proposal made in reference to a subject which the mover wishes to bring forward. All Resolutions, Motions for election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and Motion of Thanks on the Address by the President, etc. are examples of substantive motions. 
  • A substitute motion, as its name suggests, is moved in substitution of the original motion for taking into consideration a policy or situation or statement or any other matter. Amendments to substitute motions are not permissible..
  • Subsidiary motions depend upon or relate to other motions or follow up on some proceedings in the House. By itself, a subsidiary motion has no meaning and is not capable of stating the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or the proceedings of the House.

Calling Attention Motion:

  • Under this procedural device, a Member may, with the prior permission of the Speaker, call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance and the Minister may make a brief statement thereon. 
  • There shall be no debate on such a statement at the time it is made.
  • After the statement, brief clarifications can be sought from the Minister by the Member who has initiated the Calling Attention and other Members whose names appear in the List of Business are called by the Speaker.
  • Only those matters which are primarily the concern of the Union Government can be raised through a Calling Attention notice. 
  • The Calling Attention procedure is an Indian innovation which combines asking a question with supplementary and making brief comments; the Government also gets adequate opportunity to state its case. 
  • The Calling Attention matter is not subject to the vote of the House. 

Motion of No-confidence:

It is derived from principle of collective responsibility as mentioned in article 75 of the Constitution.

In India, as per rule 198 of the constitution, ‘the Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for a motion of no-confidence. It states that any member may give a written notice before 10 am in the morning, the Speaker will read the motion of no-confidence in the House and can ask all those favouring this motion to rise. If there are 50 MPs in favour, the Speaker could allot a date for discussing the motion – but this has to be within 10 days. However, this cannot be done in conditions of din or confusion in the House’. Mostly, this motion is the last step and actually, it is one of the most remarkable procedures. It authenticates the ultimate power of legislative over the executive in the Indian parliament. It usually proceeds like as below:

  • In Lok Sabha, a bill or a motion proposed by Opposition or a Coalition of Opposition is passed with a simple majority.
  • Then to know the strength of Government and MPs, votes review will be done and also understand the reason of bill passed by the opposition.
  • Regardless of the Government MPs all present and voting against the Bill, if the bill gets passed, the signals of the Government not being in majority becomes a reality.
  • Then, if the Opposition or coalition parties wishes to form an administration, they call for a No-Confidence Vote.
  • This No-Confidence Vote occurs in the Lok Sabha and the MPs decides ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If the ‘Ayes’ are more, then the Government can collapse instantly.

Closure Motion

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. There are four kinds of closure motions:

  • Simple Closure: It is one when a member moves that the ‘matter having been sufficiently discussed be now put to vote’.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

Censure Motion:

  • MPs can introduce motions of censure to criticise a specific government programme, a specific government minister (including the prime minister), or the government as a whole. 
  • Because censure motions are based on tradition, there are no explicit rules dictating how they are framed or how they operate. 
  • A motion of censure can be introduced by any MP. They are frequently presented as an Early Day Motion, which is a brief motion that is not scheduled for discussion on a given day and allows an MP to express his or her opinion on a specific topic. 
  • Other Members of Parliament can sign any Early Day Resolution, including a censure motion, to show their support.


The members can move resolutions to draw the attention of the House or the government to matters of general public interest. The discussion on a resolution is strictly relevant to and within the scope of the resolution.

A member who has moved a resolution or amendment to a resolution cannot withdraw the same except by leave of the House. Resolutions are classified into three categories:

  • Private Member’s Resolution: It is one that is moved by a private member (other than a minister). It is discussed only on alternate Fridays and in the afternoon sitting.
  • Government Resolution: It is one that is moved by a minister. It can be taken up any day from Monday to Thursday.
  • Statutory Resolution: It can be moved either by a private member or a minister. It is so called because it is always tabled in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.

Resolutions are different from motions in the following respects:

“All resolutions come in the category of substantive motions, that is to say, every resolution is a particular type of motion. All motions need not necessarily be substantive. Further, all motions are not necessarily put to vote of the House, whereas all the resolutions are required to be voted upon.”

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