Recently, the Prime Minister replied to the motion of thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha.

Motion of Thanks:  Key Points

Motion of Thanks

  • President’s Address:
    • Constitutional Provisions:
      • Article 87 provides for the special address by the President. It provides two special occasions on which the President addresses a joint sitting.
        • 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 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.
    • Regarding Joint Session:
      • This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
      • However, at the commencement of the first session of the year, if Lok Sabha is not in existence and has been dissolved, then Rajya Sabha has to meet. And Rajya Sabha can hold its session without the President’s Address.
      • In the case of the first session after each general election to Lok Sabha, the President addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together after the members have made and subscribed the oath or affirmation and the Speaker has been elected.
    • Content of the President’s Address:
      • The President’s Address is the statement of policy of the Government and, as such, is drafted by the Government.
      • The Address contains a review of various activities and achievements of the Government during the previous year and sets out the policies, projects, and programs which the Government of the day wishes to pursue with regard to the important national and international issues.
  • Discussion on the Address by Motion of Thanks:
    • Background:
      • The Address of the President, which corresponds to the ‘speech from the Throne in Britain’, is discussed in both the Houses of Parliament on a motion called the ‘Motion of Thanks’.
    • Constitutional Provisions:
      • 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.
      • Under Rule 15 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha, 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.
        • Members who are to move and second the Motion are selected by the Prime Minister and the notice of such a Motion is received through the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
    • Procedure:
      • It is available to the members of Parliament to raise discussions and debates to examine and criticise the government and administration for its lapses and failures.
      • Generally, three days are allotted for the discussion on the Motion of Thanks.
      • If any of the amendments are put forward and accepted then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form.
        • 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.
      • At the end of the discussion, the motion is put to vote.
    • Significance of Motion of Thanks:
      • The Motion of Thanks must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government. It is one of the ways through which the Lok Sabha can also express a lack of confidence in the government. The other ways are:
        • Rejection of a money bill.
        • Passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
        • The defeat of the government on a vital issue.
        • Passing a cut motion.

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