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Rajya Sabha
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HANDBOOK FOR MEMBERS OF RAJYA SABHA

Contents

CHAPTER II

GENERAL

32. Parliamentary Terms

Certain terms and phrases, connected with parliamentary work are used frequently by members in their speeches. These expressions, with their meanings and implications are described below:--

(1) "Act"--A Bill passed by both  Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President.

(2) "Adjournment of Debate"--Adjournment on a motion adopted by the House, of the debate on a Motion/Resolution/Bill on which the House is then engaged until a future day or sine die as specified in the motion.

(3) "Adjournment of the sitting of the House"-An adjournment terminates the sitting of the House which meets again at the time appointed for the next sitting.

(4) "Adjournment sine die"-Termination of a sitting of the House without any definite date being fixed for the next sitting.

(5) "Appropriation Bill"-  A Money Bill passed annually (or at various times of the year) providing for the withdrawal or appropriation from and out of the Consolidated Fund of India of moneys voted by  Lok Sabha and moneys charged on the Consolidated Fund for the services of a financial year or a part of a financial year.

(6) "Bill"--The draft of a legislative proposal put in the proper form which, when passed by both Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President becomes an Act.

(7) "Budget"-Annual financial statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in respect of a financial year. The Budget is laid in Rajya Sabha in two parts viz., the Railway Budget and the General Budget.

(8) "Bulletin"-Bulletin means the Bulletin of  Rajya Sabha. It is published in two parts. Part I contains a brief record of the proceedings of the House at each of its sittings; and Part II contains information on any matter relating to or connected with the business of the House or Committees or other matter which in the opinion of the Chairman may be included therein.

(9) "Calendar of Sittings"-A provisional Calendar of Sittings shows the days on which Rajya Sabha is to sit and the nature of business to be transacted by it. It is circulated to members along with the Summons for a session.

(10) "Casting Vote"-The vote cast by the Chairman, or the person Acting as such in the House and by the Chairman or person acting as such in a Committee, in the case of an equality of votes on a matter.

(11) "Closure"-It is one of the means by which a debate may be brought to a close by a majority decision of the House, even though all members wishing to speak have not done so. At any time after a motion has been made, any member may move "That the question be now put". Such a motion is generally made at the conclusion of a speech but also at times whilst a member is addressing the House. When such a motion is made, the Chairman, unless he considers that the motion is an abuse of the Rules of  Rajya Sabha or an infringement of the right of reasonable debate, puts the motion "That the question be now put". The discretion that the Chairman exercises in the matter of accepting a proposal for closure or in refusing it, is absolute and not open to debate. No debate therefore is allowed on a closure motion. If the closure motion is not carried, the debate on the motion is resumed at the point where it was interrupted. If the closure motion is carried, the Chairman puts the question under debate without permitting any further amendment or discussion save as otherwise provided in the Rules.

(12) "Crossing the floor"--Passing between the member in possession of the House and the Chair. To cross the floor is a breach of Parliamentary etiquette.

(13) "Dilatory Motion"-A motion for the adjournment of the debate or a motion to retard or delay the progress of the business under consideration of the House. The debate on a dilatory motion must be restricted to the matter of such motion. If the Chairman is of opinion that such a motion is an abuse of the Rules of the House, he may either forthwith put the question thereon from the Chair or decline to propose the question.

(14) "Division"-The mode of arriving at a decision on a proposed measure or question before the House by recording votes for or against it.

(15) "Draw of lot" - A method applied to determine the relative precedence of private members' Bills and Resolutions, notices of questions, half-an-hour discussions or any other notice given by more than one member simultaneously for being taken up on the same day.

(16) "Expunction"-Deletion of words, phrases or expressions from the proceedings or records of  Rajya Sabha by an order of the Chairman as being defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified.

(17) "Finance Bill"-A Bill ordinarily introduced every year to give effect to the financial proposals of the Government of India for the following financial year and includes a Bill to give effect to supplementary financial proposals for any period.

(18) "Financial Bill"-Financial Bills are of two types:

(a) A Bill making provision for any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (f) of clause (1) of article 110 of the Constitution is called a Money Bill. Such a Bill cannot be introduced except on the recommendation of the President and a Bill making such provisions cannot be introduced in  Rajya Sabha.

(b) A Bill which if enacted and brought into operation would involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India.  Such a Bill can be introduced in  Rajya Sabha. It cannot be passed by either House of Parliament unless the President has recommended to that House the consideration of the Bill.

(19) "Gazette"-The Gazette of India.

(20) "Guillotine"-Guillotine is a different form of closure. It means the putting by the Chairman of outstanding question or questions relating to the business in hand on expiry of the time allotted for the discussion. Unlike closure, the guillotine to be applied is not preceded by any motion. The Chair forthwith puts the question without further debate.

(21) "Hear, hear"-This exclamation by members during the progress of a debate has been sanctioned by long parliamentary usage; but if it is used with immoderation or with undesirable intonation, it is declared to be out of order by the Chair.

(22) "Leader of the Council"-The Prime Minister, if he is a member of the Council or a Minister who is a member of the Council  and is nominated by the Prime Minister to function as the Leader of the Council.

(23) "Leader of the Opposition"-A Member of the House, who is, for the time being, the leader in that House of the Party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the Chairman. When there are two or more parties in opposition to the Government having the same numerical strength, the Chairman having regard to the status of parties recognises any one of the leaders of such parties as the Leader of the Opposition and such recognition is final and conclusive.

(24) "List of Business"-This is the list of items of business scheduled to be taken up in Rajya Sabha on a particular day of sitting in the order in which they stand on it.  List of business for a day is prepared with the approval of  the Secretary-General and a copy thereof is made available to each member before the commencement of the sitting of the House on that day. The List of Business is also commonly known as Agenda Paper or Order Paper for the day.  The List of Business is generally issued 2 days in advance, and a revised List of Business, which is the final agenda, is issued the day previous to the sitting (except in case of sittings on Mondays where only one List of  Business is issued).  A supplementary List of Business may be issued during the course of a day for any additional item of  business to be taken up the same day.

(25) "Lobby"-(a) The covered corridor immediately adjoining the Chamber and co-terminus with it. Division Lobbies are situated on either side of the Chamber. The 'Ayes' Lobby is situated to the right of the Chairman's Chair and the 'Noes' to its left.

(b) In order to facilitate voting, arrangements are made to increase the number of Division Lobbies so that members can quickly record their votes in the appropriate Lobby according to their Division Numbers.

(c) The Division Lobbies are, however, to be used only when votes are not recorded by the automatic vote recording equipment.

(26) "Maiden Speech"-The first speech of a member after his election for the first time. Such a member is, as a matter of courtesy, called upon by the Chairman to make his maiden speech in preference to others rising to speak at the same time. It is a recognized parliamentary convention that a member making a maiden speech is not interrupted by another member.

(27) "Member in charge of the Bill"-The member who has introduced the Bill and any Minister in the case of a Government Bill.

(28) "Message"-A communication from the President to a House or Houses of Parliament under articles 86(2) and 111 of the Constitution and a communication sent from one House of Parliament to the other House.

(29) "Money Bill"-A Bill containing only provisions dealing with all or any of the matters specified in sub-clauses (a) to (g) of clause (1) of article 110 of the Constitution, is a Money Bill.  Such a Bill cannot be introduced in Lok Sabha except on the recommendation of the President and a Bill making such provisions cannot be introduced in  Rajya Sabha.

(30) "Motion"-A  formal proposal made to the House by a member that the House do something, order something to be done or express an opinion with regard to some matter, and is so phrased that, if  adopted, it will purport to express the judgment or will of the House.

(31) "Motion of Thanks"-A formal motion moved in the House, expressing its gratitude for the Address delivered by the President under article 87(1) of the Constitution to both Houses of Parliament assembled together. It provides an opportunity for the discussion of the matters referred to in the Address.

(32) "Naming a Member"-The drawing of attention of the House by the Chairman to the conduct of a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the Rules of the House by persistently and willfully obstructing the business thereof, with a view to action being taken to suspend him from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.

(33) "Order, order"-The Chairman sometimes says this to call the House to order, or to ask the House to hear the Chair or a member in possession of the House. Generally this call is made under various circumstances some of which are noted below:

(a) If the member seeking to intervene is not allowed to interrupt.

(b) If the member speaking is found to be irrelevant.

(c) If a member rises to speak when he should not.

(d) If a member is in any manner disorderly.

(e) If there is noise and confusion in the House and the Chair wants that order should prevail.

(f) If there is an occasion for the Chairman to speak on a matter of procedure at any time.

(34) "Ordinance"-A law made by the President in exercise of the powers vested in him by article 123 of the Constitution.

(35) "Panel of Vice-Chairmen"-The panel of six members of  Rajya Sabha nominated by the Chairman, any one of whom may preside over the House in the absence of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman when so requested by the Chairman, or in his absence, by the Deputy Chairman.

(36) "Papers laid on the Table"-The papers or documents laid on the Table of the House for purpose of bringing them on the record of the House by a Minister or by a private member or by the Secretary-General with the permission of the Chairman in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution or the Rules of Procedure of Rajya Sabha or an Act of Parliament and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder. All papers so laid on the Table are either printed as part of the proceedings of the House or placed in the Library or kept in the appropriate file. All papers and documents laid on the Table are considered public. A member should not raise any matter in respect of a paper laid on the Table in the House. Instead, he should take it up with the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table.  Papers to be laid on the Table by Members are generally printed as a separate List of Business though deemed to be part of the List of Business.  Papers being laid at short notice may however, be directly included in a supplementary list of business.

(37) "Point of Order"-(a) A point relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of Procedure or such articles of the Constitution as regulate the business of the House raised in the House and submitted for the decision of the Chair.

(b) As soon as a point of order is raised, the member who is in possession of the House should give way and resume his seat.

(c) The decision of the Chairman as to whether a point raised is a point of order or not is final.

(38) "Precincts of Rajya Sabha"-This includes the Chamber, the Lobbies, the Galleries and such other places as the Chairman may from time to time specify.

(39) "Proposing the Question"-(a) When a member moving a certain motion has concluded his speech, the Chair proposes the question to which the motion relates in the following form: 'Motion moved' and reads the text of the motion.

(b) The discussion on the question commences after the question has been proposed by the Chair.

(40) "Prorogation"-The termination of a session of  Rajya Sabha by an order made by the President under article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution.

(41) "Putting the Question"-When debate on a question is closed, the Chairman, rising from the Chair, states or reads the question to the House, beginning with "The question is, that".

(42) "Question Chart"-A chart circulated to members, along with the Summons for a session, which indicates the dates for answering questions and the last date for receiving notices of questions pertaining to various Ministries/ Departments.

(43) "Question Hour"-The first hour of a sitting of the House allotted for asking and answering of questions.

(44) "Question of Privilege"-A question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a Committee thereof or a contempt of the House.

(45) "Quorum"-The minimum number of members required to be present at a sitting of the House or a Committee for valid transaction of its business. The quorum to constitute a sitting of the House is one-tenth of the total number of members of the House.

(46) "Roll of Members"-A register in which newly elected members sign, after making and subscribing the oath or affirmation and before taking their seats for the first time in the House. It is kept on the Table of the House.

(47) "Session"-A session of  Rajya Sabha comprises the period commencing from the date and time mentioned in the order of the President summoning  Rajya Sabha and ending with the day on which the President prorogues Rajya Sabha.

(48) "Short Notice Question"-A question relating to a matter of urgent public importance asked with notice shorter than fifteen clear days.

(49) "Sitting of the House"-A sitting of the House is duly constituted when it is presided over by the Chairman or a member competent to preside over a sitting of the House  under the Constitution or the Rules of Procedure of  Rajya Sabha.

(50) "Starred Question"-A question to which a member wishes to have an oral answer on the floor of the House and which is distinguished by an asterisk.

(51) "Statutory Resolution"-A resolution in pursuance of a provision in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.

(52) "Subordinate Legislation"--Rules, regulations, orders, schemes, bye-laws,  etc. having the force of law, framed by the Executive or other subordinate authority in pursuance of the power conferred on it by the Constitution or delegated to it by an Act of Parliament.

(53) "Summons"--An official communication issued by the Secretary-General of  Rajya Sabha under the orders of the President to the members of Rajya Sabha informing them of the place, date and time of the commencement of a session of Rajya Sabha.

(54) "Table of the House"--The Table just in front of the desk of the Secretary-General below the Chairman's Chair. Papers which are required to be laid on the Table of the House are deemed to be placed on this Table.

(55) "Unstarred Question"--A question which is not called for oral answer in the House. The written answer to such a question is deemed to have been laid on the Table.

33. Parliamentary Customs and Etiquette

There are many established parliamentary customs and etiquette with  which a member elected for the first time has to make himself familiar. These customs and conventions are based on the past practices, the rulings of Presiding Officers and on the unrecorded traditions of Parliament which a member comes to know through his personal experience in Parliament. Some of the main customs and etiquette are  given below :

(1) Before making and subscribing the oath or affirmation, it is customary for the members to call on the Chairman. The calling on is arranged by the  Table Office  or Notice Office who also advise the members on the procedure for making and subscribing the oath or affirmation and the papers to be submitted by them.

(2) During the sittings of the House a member may receive one or more slips intimating that someone is waiting outside to see him on an urgent and important business. Members  may  meet the visitors who come to see them in Reception Office adjacent to the main Parliament building.  The Chamber attendants  who  bring the slips to the Member will get message  in this respect conveyed to the Reception Office.

(3) The decorum and the seriousness of the proceedings of the House require that there should be no "Thanks", "Thank You", "Jai Hind", "Bande Mataram" or any other slogans raised in the House.

(4) "Applause" or "Cheers" and "Laughter" are not recorded in the proceedings of the House.

(5) A notice for raising a matter in the House should not be given publicity by any member or other person until it has been admitted by the Chairman.  Till information to the contrary is conveyed,   a notice should be deemed to  be under the consideration of the Chairman.  A Member should not raise the issue of a notice given by him and  pending consideration of the Chairman in the House.

(6) Rulings are given by the Chair according to precedents of the House and where there is no precedent, they follow the usual parliamentary practice. Rulings given by the Chair should not be criticised directly or indirectly inside or outside the House.

(7) Questions pertaining to the Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha Secretariat and the functions of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha/ Speaker, Lok Sabha are not answered on the floor of the House.

(8) Reference to Officers of either House in debates is improper.

(9) Proposals for expenditure from grants relating to the Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha Secretariat are not discussed on the floor of either House or in any Parliamentary Committees.

(10) Display of arms in the House is prohibited.

(11) Production of exhibits on the floor of the House is not in order.

(12) Every member should bow to the Chair while entering or leaving the House and also before taking or leaving his/her seat.

(13) While the House is sitting, every member should enter and leave the Chamber  with decorum and in such a manner as not to disturb the proceedings in the House.

(14) A member should never pass between the Chair and any member who is speaking.

(15) Members should not sit with their backs to the Chair.

(16) During a sitting, a member should, if necessary, go out quickly by a back door close to his seat without causing any disturbance to the House.

(17) Members should not so converse amongst themselves as to disturb the proceedings.  Such talks, though not very audible at distance,  considerably disturb the Chair due to special sound arrangements.

(18) Members, in their seats, should not read newspapers, periodicals, books or letters not directly connected with, or necessary for, the business before the House.

(19) When a member wants to speak he should rise in his place to attract the attention of the Chair. No member should speak unless he or she has caught the eye of the Chair and has been called upon by the Chair by name or by a sign to speak.

(20) No member should raise in the House the subject matter of a notice or a communication sent by him to the chairman, unless he has been specifically permitted by the Chairman to do so. If no intimation has been received by the member, he should presume that the matter is either under the consideration of the Chairman or it has been disallowed by him.

(21) Every member should resume his seat as soon as the Chairman rises to speak, or calls out "Order", and also when any other member is in possession of the floor (i.e. speaking with the permission of the Chair) or has interposed in the course of the debate to raise a point of order, or to offer a personal explanation.

(22) No member should rise or leave the House when the Chairman is addressing the House. The Chairman should always be heard in silence.

(23) Except with the prior leave of the Chair, no member should read out a written speech though notes may be referred to.

(24) A member is not allowed to read the speech for another member during the latter's presence in the House.

(25) Members should not leave the House immediately after they finish their speeches. Courtesy to the House requires that after finishing their speeches they resume their seats and leave the House only afterwards, if necessary.

(26) When any member offers a criticism of another member or Minister, the latter is entitled to expect that the critic should be present in the House to hear his reply. To be absent when the latter is replying is a breach of parliamentary etiquette.

(27) It is desirable that, as far as practicable, a member should not be referred to by name, but in some other suitable way e.g. as the member who has last spoken, the member  representing such and such State, "the member from....", etc. If unavoidably necessary, full name may be used.

(28) Repetition of the arguments of previous speakers, or one's own, should be avoided. It may be resorted to rarely with a view to giving emphasis to a point.

(29) Personal reference (unless it be imperatively necessary for the purposes of the debate, being itself a matter in issue or relevant thereto) by way of imputation of motive to or questioning the bona fides of any member, should not be resorted to.

(30) Members, when in the Lobby, should talk with each other in a subdued tone so as not to disturb the proceedings of the House.

(31) No member should speak to the Gallery from inside the House, nor should he make any reference or appeal to it. Applause for any person sitting in the Gallery, except for the visiting  foreign dignitaries whose presence in the Special Box is brought to the notice of the  House by the Chairman, is out of order.

(32) A member must not address, while speaking, to individual members of the House, but should always address the Chair, and make all remarks to other members through the Chair.

(33) No member should argue with another member when the latter is speaking. He may, however, ask through the Chair, questions with a view to obtaining information from the member who is speaking. But a member who is addressing the House with the permission of the Chair should not be interrupted by another member persistently. It is open to the former not to give way but to go on with his speech it the interruption is not for raising a point of order.

(34) A member should not interrupt any member who is speaking, by disorderly expression or noise or in any other disorderly manner.

(35) The Chairman may direct any member whose conduct is, in his opinion, grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House, and any member so ordered to withdraw should do so forthwith and should absent himself during the remainder of the day's sitting.

(36) A statement made by a Minister from the records in his  possession should be accepted as correct, unless a point is deliberately raised to challenge it.

(37) A member may, with the permission of the Chairman, make a personal explanation although there is no question before the House, but in such case no debatable matter may be brought forward, and no debate shall arise.

(38) If any statement is imputed to another member, and the latter says that he did not make that statement the contradiction should be accepted without demur.

(39) Words containing insinuations and offensive and unparliamentary expressions should be  avoided. When the Chair holds that a particular word or expression is unparliamentary, it should be immediately withdrawn without any attempt to raise any debate over it. Words or expressions held to be unparliamentary and ordered to be expunged by the Chair are omitted from the printed Debates.

(40) As members enjoy freedom from prosecution for statements made by them in the House, allegations should not be made by them against a fellow member or a member of the other House.

(41) A member should speak only from the seat allotted to him. When a member is not sitting in his own seat, he may not be called to speak or to ask supplementary question.

(42) A member while speaking should not--

(a) refer to any matter of fact on which a judicial decision is pending;

(b) make a personal charge against another member;

(c) use offensive expressions about the conduct of proceedings of Parliament or any State Legislature;

(d) reflect on any determination of the House except on a motion for rescinding it;

(e) use the President's name for the purpose of influencing the debate;

(f) utter treasonable, seditious or defamatory words;

(g) use his right of speech for the purpose of obstructing the business of the House; and

(h) reflect upon the conduct of persons in high authority unless the discussion is based on a substantive motion drawn in proper terms.

(43) In their speeches members should not refer to Government officials by name.

(44) Members should not smoke in the Chamber. They should not throw burning cigarette ends on the floor anywhere except in the receptacles provided for the purpose, in order to avoid any risk of fire.

(45) Two members should not keep standing  in the House at the same time.

(46) When a member is making a maiden speech he should not be interrupted.

(47) Members should not obstruct proceedings, hiss or interrupt and should avoid making running commentaries when speeches are being made in the House.

(48) Entering the House with coat hanging on the arm is improper and against the decorum of the House.

(49) Members should not  stand in the passage of the Chamber. They must either sit down or go out.

(50) Members should not as far as possible approach the Chair personally in the House. They may send chits to him, if necessary, through the chamber attendants.

(51) Members should not distribute within the precincts of the Parliament House, any literature, questionnaire or pamphlets, etc., unless permission has been obtained from the Chairman in writing in advance.

(52) Members should not carry walking sticks into the Chamber unless permitted by the Chairman.

34.  Code of Conduct for Members

The Members of Rajya Sabha should acknowledge their responsibility to maintain the public trust reposed in them and should work diligently to discharge their mandate for the common good of the people. They must hold in high esteem the Constitution, the Law, Parliamentary Institutions  and  above all the general   public. They should constantly strive to translate the ideals laid down in the Preamble to the Constitution into a reality. The following are the principles which they should abide by in their dealings:

(i)         Members must not do anything that brings disrepute to the Parliament and affects their credibility.

(ii)        Members must utilise their position as Members of Parliament to advance general well-being of the people.

(iii)       In their dealings if Members find that there is a conflict between their personal interests and the public trust which they hold, they should resolve such a conflict in a manner that their private interests are subordinated to the duty of their public office.

(iv)       Members should always see that their private financial interests and those of the members of their immediate family* do not come in conflict with the public interest and if any such conflict ever arises, they should try to resolve such a conflict in a manner that the public interest is not jeopardised.

(v)        Members should never expect or accept any fee, remuneration or benefit for a vote given or not given by them on the floor of the House, for introducing a Bill, for moving a resolution or desisting from moving a resolution, putting a question or abstaining from asking a question or participating in the deliberations of the House or a Parliamentary Committee.

(vi)       Members should not take a gift which may interfere with honest and impartial discharge of their official duties. They may, however, accept incidental gifts or inexpensive mementoes and customary hospitality.

(vii)      Members holding public offices should use public resources in such a manner as may lead to public good.

(viii)      If Members are in possession of a confidential information owing to their being Members of Parliament or Members of Parliamentary Committees, they should not disclose such information for advancing their personal interests.

(ix)       Members should desist from giving certificates to individuals and institutions of which they have no personal knowledge and are not based on facts.

(x)        Members should not lend ready support to any cause of which they have no or little knowledge.

(xi)       Members should not misuse the facilities and amenities made available to them.

(xii)      Members should not be disrespectful to any religion and work for the promotion of secular values.

(xiii)      Members should keep uppermost in their mind the fundamental duties listed in part IVA of the Constitution.

(xiv)     Members are expected to maintain high standards of morality, dignity, decency and values in public life.

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