Important Parliamentary Terms


Calling Attention: Moved to call the attention of a Minister to matters of public importance. The ‘Calling Attention’ procedure does not exist in the Rajya Sabha, which has, instead the ‘Motion of Papers’

Floor Crossing: The practice of floor crossing refers to the defection of a Member of Parliament from the party he/she was elected to another political party.The practice of defection indicates the lack of ideological hold of the party over its members and it leads to instability in the Government or disregard to the people’s mandate.

Hung Parliament: When in a General election no political party or coalition of the political parties is in a position to form a majority Government, such a Parliament is called a Hung Parliament.

Interim Government: This Government is formed during the transitional phase of the history of the country. It is a full-fledged Government and can take any policy decisions. In India, the interim Government came to power with the Independence of India Act on 15th August and lasted till March, 1952.

Minority Government: A form of Government which does not enjoy the confidence of the Lok Sabha on its own and survives on support of other political parties from outside the Government. For example, the Chandra shekhar Government in 1990 −1991, the Deve Gowda and the I. K. Gujral Governments during 1996−1997 survived on the Congress support from outside.

Ordinance: An ordinance is a law promulgated by the head of the State in a situation of urgency when the Legislature cannot frame the law because either it is not in session or it is dis-solved. An ordinance has the same effect as a law made by the Legislature. However,it is a temporary measure and has to be approved by the Legislature within a prescribed period, other-wise it ceases to be in operation.

Question Hour: The first one hour period (usually 11: 00 a. m. to 12: 00 a. m.) each day during the meetings of the Parliament is allotted for asking the questions by the members to be replied by the Ministers, is called the Question Hour. A ten days prior notice is required for asking questions in the Parliament by its members.

Quorum: It refers to the required presence of the minimum member of members of a body to hold its meetings and conduct its business. For example, the presence of members (quorum of) is required to hold the meetings of the Parliament. In the absence of the quorum, the meeting is adjourned and no business is conducted.

Whip: This is an official appointed by a political party to regulate and monitor the behaviour of its members in the Legislature. The violation of whip invites the disciplinary action against the erring party members.

Zero Hour: It is a period which fol-lows after the Question Hour when the members raise any issue of public importance on very short or even without any notice. The procedure is not recognised under the Rules and Procedures of the Parliament, but has become conventional since 1970’s.

Adjournment motion

  • To draw attention of Parliament to a matter of urgent public importance.
  • Motion needs the support of 50 members for admission.
  • Rajya Sabha cannot move this motion.

No Confidence Motion

  • Moved to prove the confidence of Lok Sabha in the Council of Ministers.
  • If No Confidence Motion is passed, Council of Ministers has to resign.
  • No Confidence Motion needs the support of 50 members to be admitted.
  • Can be moved only in Lok Sabha.