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SIMPLIFIER: CUT MOTIONS



  Jun 12, 2024

SIMPLIFIER: CUT MOTIONS



CUT MOTIONS IN THE INDIAN PARLIAMENT

Demands for grants need to be voted upon by the Lok Sabha. Before the vote takes place, there is a discussion. When the amount is put to vote, the members of Lok Sabha get a chance to move cut motions that propose that the amount sought be reduced. The object of a cut motion is to draw the attention of the House to:

- Economy
- Difference of opinion on matters of policy
- Voicing a grievance

It is entirely the discretion of the Speaker to admit or reject a cut motion. The Speaker need not give any reason.

Q: What are the different types of cut motions?

A: Cut Motions are classified into three categories:

1. Disapproval of Policy Cut: A motion that the amount of the demand is reduced to Rs. 1, representing disapproval of the policy underlying the demand. The member giving notice of such a cut motion should indicate in precise terms the particulars of the policy proposed for discussion and may advocate an alternative policy.

2. Economy Cut: A motion that the amount of the demand is reduced by a specific amount, representing the economy that can be effected.

3. Token Cut: A motion that the amount of the demand is reduced by Rs. 100 to express a specific grievance.

Q: What conditions must a cut motion satisfy to be admissible?

A: A cut motion must:
- Relate to one demand only.
- Be clearly expressed without arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets, or defamatory statements.
- Be confined to one specific matter stated in precise terms.
- Not reflect on the character or conduct of any person whose conduct can only be challenged on a substantive motion.
- Not suggest amendments or repeal of existing laws.
- Not relate to a state subject or matters not primarily concerning the Government of India.
- Not relate to expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Not relate to a matter under adjudication by a court of law.
- Not raise a question of privilege.

Q: Are there any conventions related to cut motions?

A: Yes, certain conventions include:
- Cut motions discussing the action of the Speaker or relating to the Speaker’s Department are not allowed.
- Cut motions relating to the office of the Vice-President (ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha) are not admissible.
- Cut motions on matters under consideration of a Parliamentary Committee are not admissible.
- Cut motions cannot ventilate personal grievances or cast aspersions on individual Government officials or discuss matters affecting relations with a friendly foreign country.

Q: What is the process for considering demands for grants?

A: With the creation of Departmentally Related Standing Committees in 1993, demands for grants are considered by these Committees. After the general discussion on the budget is over, the House is adjourned for a fixed period. During this period, the demands for grants of the Ministries/Departments are considered by the Committees, which report to the House within a specified period. After the reports are presented, the House proceeds to the discussion and voting on demands for grants, ministry-wise. Cut motions can be moved at this stage.

Q: Who typically moves a cut motion?

A: Generally, opposition party members seek to move cut motions, though there is no legal norm prohibiting others from moving them. Admissibility of the cut motion is entirely at the discretion of the Speaker.

Q: What happens if a cut motion is passed?

A: If a cut motion is passed, the Government needs to show that it has a majority by bringing forward a 'confidence motion' under Rule 184 of the Lok Sabha. The government may have to redesign the budgetary demands for grants and re-present them, possibly leading to the resignation of the finance minister. However, as this situation has never occurred in India, its exact impact is unclear.

Q: What is the Guillotine?

A: Due to time constraints and the fact that the Departmentally Related Standing Committees have already discussed and reported on demands, not all demands are debated in the Lok Sabha. Only a few are taken up for debate; others are put to vote without debate, a process known as the Guillotine.

Q: Can demands for grants be introduced without the President's authorization?

A: No, demands for grants cannot be introduced in the Lok Sabha without the President's authorization. The Rajya Sabha has no role in demands for grants.


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