Parliamentary Terms

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  • Question hour: The first hour of every sitting in both houses is devoted to asking and answering of questions. The questions which are asked in this hour needs a ten-day prior permission from the speaker.
  • Starred Questions: Those questions which are to be answered orally on the floor of the house. Answer to such questions may be followed by supplementary questions by the members. 



  • Unstarred Questions: Answer to such questions are not given orally but in a written form.Therefore no supple-mentary questions can be asked.
  • Short Notice Questions: This can be asked on matters of urgent public importance and with a notice shorter than the ten-days prescribed for an ordinary question.
  • Zero Hour: The time immediately after the question hour. It starts at 12 noon which is the zero hour of the day. The name ‘zero hour’ is given by the press; there is no mention of zero hour in the rules of the Parliament. Any question can be asked in this hour without prior permission.
  • Motions: A proposal brought before the house for eliciting decisions or expressing the opinion of the house. Every question to be decided by the house must therefore be proposed by a member as a motion.
  • Substantiative motion: It is a self contained independent proposal submitted for the approval of the house. For example, motion of thanks on the President’s address.
  • Substitute Motion: Motions moved in substitution of original motions.
  • Resolution: It is a substantiative motion, but it is one of the procedural means available to the members and the ministers to raise a discretion in the house on the matters of general public interest.
  • Adjournment Motion: This is moved by a member at the end of the question hour to draw the attention of the executive for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance. 
  • Call-Attention Motion: A member of Parliament with prior permission of the Speaker, calls the attention of a minister to any matter of urgent public importance .Instead of this motion in Rajya Sabha, “Motion of Papers” exists.
  • No Confidence Motion: A motion moved by a member to express lack of confidence in the government for any reason. The motion, if allowed, is debated upon. At the conclusion of such a debate, a vote of confidence is sought by the government and if it fails to get the required majority of votes, it has to resign.
  • Privilege Motion: A motion moved by a member if he feels that a member has committed a breach of privilege of the house or only one or more of its members by withholding the facts of a case or by giving a distorted version of facts.
  • Cut Motions: A motion that seeks reduction in the amount of a demand presented by the government is known as a cut motion. 
  • Censure Motion : Moved by the opposition against the Govt. or any individual minister. If the motion is passed in the Lok Sabha, the Govt. has to seek the confidence of the house. 
  • Vote on Account: As there is usually a gap between the presentation of the budget and its approval, the vote on account enables the government to approve some amount from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet the expenses in the intervening period.

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