A motion is a legislative device that aids the legislature to work effectively. It is a formal proposal by a member of the Parliament to make the House consider a matter and carry-on further deliberation and discussion regarding the same.
Cut Motion is a type of motion that is only introduced by the members of the Lok Sabha to assert their points of view and encourage further deliberation on these points included in the Annual Financial Statement as a part of the Demand for Grants. It strives to reduce the amount of demand presented by the government. The members of the House especially the opposition use the Cut Motion as a device to divert the attention of the government to specific grievances or problems.
Role of the Speaker in the admissibility of a Cut Motion
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha enjoys the discretion regarding the acceptance of a Cut Motion. He decides on the admissibility of the motion assessing the rules and regulations followed while introducing it. He is at liberty to dismiss a cut motion that seeks to be introduced if in his opinion it abuses the right of moving a cut motion or may obstruct or affect the proceedings of the House and is in contravention of the rules to be followed.
A Cut Motion can only be introduced when the notice to introduce it is sent one day before the day on which it is sought to be deliberated. In case a notice is not provided by the member seeking to introduce the motion any other member of the Lok Sabha can raise objections to the movement of the motion. Such an objection may be sustained unless the Speaker gives his permission to allow the movement of the motion.
Cut motions can be categorized into three types:
1. Policy Cut Motions
- A Policy Cut motion is initiated to reduce the amount of the demand to Rupee 1.
- A member who seeks to initiate this motion must specify in clear terms his premise of initiating this motion and the particulars of the policy which he intends to discuss.
- The deliberations pertaining to the policy must be restricted to the specific points mentioned in the notice.
- The members are also under the authority to suggest an alternative policy.
When a member initiates a Policy Cut Motion, he is indirectly negating the entire policy suggested by proposing the reduction of the entire amount allocated for the respective policy to Rupee 1. It is also indicative of a loss of confidence in the ruling government.
2. Economy Cut Motions
- The motive behind initiating an Economy Cut Motion is reducing the demand by a specific amount.
- Such an amount shall either indicate a lump sum reduction of money or reduction of an item in demand. It is indicative of the economy that can be affected.
- The notice shall specify the particular matter on which discussion is to be sought and all speeches shall remain confined to the discussion on how the economy is to be affected.
An economy cut motion is initiated when a member is dissatisfied with the allocation of an amount to demand and seeks to reduce the amount of a demand by a certain percentage, as he feels it is more than what is required.
3. Token Cut Motions
- In order to reduce the amount of a demand by Rupees 100, a Token Cut Motion is initiated.
- This motion is used to voice specific grievances in relation to the Government’s sphere of responsibility.
- The discussion must also remain confined to the specific grievance mentioned in the notice.
A token cut motion is initiated by a member to express their disappointment with regard to a specific provision in the demand, they express their partial dissatisfaction by initiating a token cut motion. Instead of scraping the entire demand by raising a Policy Cut motion, they raise a Token Cut intending to negate only specific provisions of the demand.
Conditions required to be fulfilled for the admissibility of a Cut Motion:
- A cut motion should deal with one specific demand.
- The demand must be stated in clear terms and it should refrain from using any abusive language or arguments.
- A person’s character or conduct cannot be questioned under a Cut Motion.
- It cannot make amend or repeal existing laws.
- Matters which are beyond the concern of the Government of India cannot be referred to under a Cut Motion.
- Any expenditure charged from the Consolidated Fund of India is beyond the sphere of a Cut Motion.
- It cannot be related to a matter which is under the adjudication of the Judiciary.
- It cannot raise any question regarding a privilege.
- It cannot reconsider matters on which the decisions and deliberations have already been taken place.
- A Cut Motion is not authorized to deliberate on matters which are pending before any judicial or quasi-judicial body. However, the Speaker may permit to raise such a matter in the House when he is adequately convinced that it won’t influence the consideration of the matter in the judicial or quasi-judicial bodies in any way.
- A Cut Motion cannot be raised regarding trivial issues.
The cut motion allows a more meaningful debate and discussion on each demand acting as a powerful check against the arbitration of the ruling party. A cut motion usually gets defeated owing to the numerical superiority of the ruling party or its coalition. However, if the House passes a Cut Motion it indicates a loss of confidence in the ruling government, and the government is thereby obliged to resign.
Cut Motions gives the members veto power over a financial matter discussed by the House, it is a powerful instrument to test the strength of the government. It is also an essential check by the legislature on the arbitration of the executive which protects the democratic ethos of the country.
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