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Guillotine Motion


Amidst the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, some MPs said the government may guillotine the demands for grants and pass the Finance Bill without any discussion in the Lok Sabha.


GS II: Polity

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Understanding the Parliamentary Procedural Use of the Term ‘Guillotine’
  2. What has the stalemate in Parliament been about?

Understanding the Parliamentary Procedural Use of the Term ‘Guillotine’:

In legislative parlance, the term “guillotine” is used in a different sense than its literal meaning. In this context, it refers to a parliamentary procedure that is used to expedite the passage of financial business, especially during the Budget Session of the Lok Sabha.

Here’s how the process works:
  • After the Budget is presented, Parliament goes into recess for about three weeks, during which time the House Standing Committees examine Demands for Grants for various Ministries and prepare reports.
  • When Parliament reassembles, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) draws up a schedule for discussions on the Demands for Grants.
  • Given the limitation of time, the House cannot take up the expenditure demands of all Ministries; therefore, the BAC identifies some important Ministries for discussions.
  • The Ministries of Home, Defence, External Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development, and Human Resource Development are typically selected for discussions.
  • Members of Parliament utilize the opportunity to discuss the policies and workings of the Ministries.
  • 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 of using the “guillotine” is to ensure the timely passage of the Finance Bill, which marks the completion of the legislative exercise with regard to the Budget.

What has the stalemate in Parliament been about?

The Parliament in India has been stalled due to a stalemate between the government and opposition, and there is uncertainty whether the Budget Session will continue till its scheduled date of April 6.

Reasons for Stalemate:
  • The opposition is demanding a JPC (joint parliamentary committee) probe into the Adani issue.
  • The government is demanding that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should apologize for his recent “anti-India” remarks.
  • At meetings held by presiding officers of both houses, the BJP offered to let Rahul Gandhi present his point of view on his remarks on Indian democracy in London only if he apologized for them. The Congress rejected this and continued to demand a JPC probe into the Adani issue.
Possible Outcome:
  • The government may have to guillotine together different demands and pass them en masse if the stalemate continues with no end in sight.

-Source: Indian Express

March 2024