Govt embarrassed in RS as Motion of Thanks on President’s Address adopted with amendment

The government recently had to face embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha after the house adopted Motion of Thanks on President’s address with an amendment moved by a member in the opposition party.

  • Normally, the Motion of Thanks on President’s Address is passed without members insisting for division on amendments moved.
  • This is for the fourth time that Motion of Thanks on President’s Address has been adopted with amendment in Rajya Sabha.

Motion of Thanks:

  • Article 87(1) of the Indian Constitution provides for the special address by the President. Under this Article 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.
  • 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.
  • Article 87(2) of the Constitution requires that provision shall be made by the rules regulating the procedure of either House for the allotment of time for discussion of the matters referred to in the President’s Address.
  • Accordingly, discussion on the 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 scope of the discussion on the Address is very wide and members are at liberty to speak on every matter of national or international importance and other issues.
  • Notices of amendments to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address can be tabled after the President has delivered his Address. Amendments may refer to matters contained in the Address as well as to matters which, in the opinion of the member, the Address has failed to mention.
  • The only limitations are that members cannot refer to matters which are not the direct responsibility of the Central
    Government and that the name of the President cannot be brought in during the debate since the Government and not the President is responsible for the contents of the Address.
  • Amendments can be moved to the Motion of Thanks in such form as may be considered appropriate by the Chairman.
  • President’s Address and Motion of Thanks are governed by Articles 86 (1) and 87 (1) of the Constitution and Rules 16 to 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha.

Sources: The Hindu, rajyasabha.nic.in.

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