Parliamentary Motion and its types

Parliamentary motions serve as the lifeblood of legislative bodies, providing the means by which decisions are made, policies are crafted, and laws are enacted or amended.

In the realm of parliamentary procedure, motions are the essential building blocks upon which the democratic process relies. These motions are tools that allow lawmakers to express their views, shape debates, and drive the legislative agenda forward. They come in various forms, each serving a distinct purpose and carrying its own set of rules and procedures.

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Understanding the types of parliamentary motions is crucial for anyone navigating the intricate landscape of legislative affairs, as they hold the power to influence the course of government actions and policies.

In this article, we will delve into the world of parliamentary motions, the different types that exist, and how they shape the dynamics of parliamentary proceedings.

Procedures and Business Conduct Rules

Every decision taken by the Parliament, whether it is to create a law or a policy, is carefully considered and voted on. Furthermore, the Parliament uses its platform to communicate or bring attention to issues of public importance.

Parliamentary procedures require a set of norms to facilitate seamless discussion and decision-making. Robert’s Rules of Order (a manual containing guidelines for all parliamentary procedures) is one such set of standards that has affected legislative proceedings in India.

Each chamber of Parliament has its own set of procedures and business conduct rules.

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What Is Motion and Its Main Types?

A parliamentary motion is a proposal made in a parliamentary assembly for a certain action or decision to be taken by the assembly. It is a formal statement put forward by a member of the Parliament during a parliamentary session. A motion can initiate a debate, amend a previously passed law, express the assembly’s opinion on a certain matter or call for action.

Parliamentary motions play a crucial role in the decision-making process of a parliament. They are a fundamental tool for the members of the Parliament to express their views and influence the course of legislation.

In this regard, understanding the different types of motions and the procedures for submitting and debating them is essential for effective participation in the parliamentary process.

The types of motions that can be made in a parliamentary setting vary depending on the rules of the procedure followed by the assembly. Still, common types include main motionssubsidiary motionsprivileged motions, and incidental motions.

Main Motion

A main motion is a proposal that offers a new concept or plan of action for the assembly’s consideration. It is the most popular sort of motion and requires a second before it can be considered and voted on by the assembly. A main motion becomes a resolution or a formal assembly decision if it is passed.

Subsidiary Motion

A subsidiary motion is a suggestion made during the discussion on a primary motion to change or influence the direction of the debate or the eventual result. Subsidiary motions include the following:

  • A motion to amend the text of a major motion.
  • A motion to postpone consideration of a primary motion until a later time.
  • A motion to refer a main motion to a committee for additional investigation or assessment.
  • A motion to lay aside a main motion temporarily without voting on it.

Incidental Motion

An incidental motion is a proposal related to a procedural matter or question arising during a meeting or debate. Some examples of incidental motions include:

  • Appeal: A motion to challenge a ruling or decision made by the assembly’s presiding officer.
  • Point of Order: A motion to raise a concern or question about the proper procedures or rules being followed in the meeting.
  • Suspend the Rules: A motion to temporarily modify or suspend the assembly rules to address a specific issue or matter.

Other Types of Parliamentary Motion

Other types of parliamentary motions encompass a range of procedural actions within the legislative process. These motions, distinct from the primary categories, serve specific purposes in parliamentary proceedings. Let’s delve into these unique motion types, shedding light on their significance in the legislative landscape.

Privilege Motion

The Constitution bestows particular rights, privileges, and immunities on the Parliament, its members, and its committees. Legislation enacted by the House governs these. If a minister misleads the House, the opposition can bring a privilege motion to reprimand the minister.

A privilege motion is a motion raised by a member of a parliamentary assembly to bring attention to a matter that they believe affects the privileges, rights, or immunities of the assembly or its members. It is a way for members to raise issues that they believe are of urgent or critical importance to the functioning of the assembly.

Any assembly member can raise a privilege motion, and it must be moved immediately after the breach of privilege is alleged. The motion should clearly state the nature of the breach and the member against whom it is alleged. The Speaker or presiding officer of the assembly will then decide whether the motion is permissible.

Censure Motion

A censure motion is a parliamentary motion that can be introduced against the government or an individual member of the Lok Sabha (the lower House of the Indian Parliament) to express disapproval or condemnation of their actions or conduct. The purpose of a censure motion is to hold the government or members accountable for their actions and to bring attention to any wrongdoing or misconduct.

To introduce a censure motion in the Lok Sabha, a member must give notice in writing to the Speaker of the House. The motion is then placed on the House agenda for discussion and debate. During the debate, members of the House have the opportunity to express their views on the matter and to vote on the motion.

If a majority vote passes the censure motion, it can have significant consequences for the government or the individual being criticized. Under the rules of the Lok Sabha, if a censure motion is carried against the government, the Council of Ministers must seek a vote of confidence in the House as soon as possible. If the government fails to win the vote of confidence, it may be forced to resign. If an individual member is convicted, the consequences may include a loss of prestige and damage to their reputation.

Call Attention Motion

A call attention motion is a legislative motion that permits Members of Parliament to draw the minister’s attention to an issue of urgent public significance. It is introduced with the Speaker’s approval and requires the support of at least 50 members to be debated in the House.

Adjournment Motion

An adjournment motion is a parliamentary motion that can be introduced to draw the attention of the House to a matter of urgent public importance that requires the immediate attention of the government. It is moved by a member after the question hour and requires the support of at least 50 members to be discussed in the House. If the motion is accepted, the House is adjourned to discuss the matter.

No Day Yet Named Motion

When the Speaker admits notice of a motion but no precise date is designated for its consideration, it is referred to as a No-Day-Yet-Named motion. After considering the business being performed in the House and speaking with the Leader of the House or on the recommendation of the Business Advisory Committee, the Speaker can decide on a date or days for the motion’s discussion.

No Confidence Motion

A no-confidence motion can be brought against the government in the Lok Sabha (the lower House) to show the House’s dissatisfaction with the administration’s ability to stay in power. A no-confidence motion is intended to hold the government accountable for its actions and highlight its lack of support in the House.

To introduce a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, a member must give notice in writing to the Speaker of the House. The motion is then placed on the House agenda for discussion and debate. During the debate, members of the House have the opportunity to express their views on the matter and to vote on the motion.

The administration faces dire repercussions if a majority vote in the House carries a no-confidence motion. According to Lok Sabha regulations, the Council of Ministers must retire if a no-confidence resolution is passed against the government. The President of India may then call the Leader of the most powerful opposition party or alliance to form a government and demonstrate its majority in the House.

Confidence Motion

A confidence motion, often known as a trust vote, is a tactic the government uses to demonstrate its House majority. Because there is no particular provision, the rules for a confidence motion are the same as those for an ordinary motion. When no one political party has a clear majority, the President appoints a Prime Minister who they feel has the backing of the majority. The newly chosen Prime Minister must demonstrate their majority via a confidence motion.

If both a motion for no-confidence and a motion for confidence are presented, the Speaker must prioritize government business and consider the motion of confidence first. Usually, the Prime Minister initiates a trust vote to determine their majority in the Lok Sabha, especially when a new government is to be formed. Before taking power, any political party must prove its majority on the floor of the House. A trust vote may also be conducted if a government resigns and another party claims to form a government.


In conclusion, motions are an essential part of the parliamentary process in India. They provide a means for members of the House to raise important issuesdebate them, and propose solutions.

From no-confidence to adjournment motions, these motions play a vital role in ensuring accountabilitytransparency, and the smooth functioning of the government.

Whether moved by the government or the opposition, these motions reflect the people’s voice and help hold the government accountable to the citizens it serves.

Suhani Dhariwal
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