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Chapter 14. Glossary Of Constitutional Terms (Polity & Constitution of India Notes)


Ad hoc committees : These committees are appointed for a specific purpose and they cease to exist when they finish the task assigned to them and submit a report. The principal Ad hoc committees are the select and joint committees on Bills. Examples of Ad hoc committees
(1) Committees on the Draft Five Year Plans (2) Railway convention committee.
Adjournment Motion : It is introduced in the parliament to draw attention of the House to a definite matter of urgent public importance, and needs the support of 50 members to be admitted.
As it interrupts the normal business of the House, it is regarded as an extraordinary device.
It involves an element of censure against the government and hence Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of this device.
Adjournment of House : A session of Parliament Consists of many meetings. Each meeting of a day consists of two sittings, that is, a morning sitting from 11 am to 1 pm and post-lunch sitting from 2 pm to 6 pm. An adjournment suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.
Cabinet : It is the highest decision- making authority in our politico- administrative system and chief policy for mulating body of the central government. It includes the cabinet ministers only.
Thus it is a part of the council
Censure Motion : A censure means an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. It can be stern rebuke by a legislature, generally opposition against the policies of Government or an individual minister.
However, it can also be passed to criticise, condemn some act. A censure motion can be moved in lower house of the parliament or in a state assembly in india.
Chief Whip : A whip is a official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure discipline in a legislature. Whips are the party’s ‘enforcers’ who ensure that the party members participate according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken.
Coalition Government : It means alliances of several political parties. This situation arises, if no party on its own can achieve majority in the parliament. To have strong coalitions, it is necessary that political parties must moderate their ideologies and programme.
Contempt of Court : It refers to actions which either defy a court’s authority, cast disrespect on a court, or impede the ability of the court to perform its function, punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.
Cut Motion : It is a power given to the members of the Lok Sabha to oppose a demand in the financial bill discussed by the government.
If a cut motion is adopted by the House and the government does not have the numbers, it is obliged to resign cut motion is of three kinds :
Policy Cut : This type of cut motion aims that the amount of the demand be reduced to Re 1. It represents the complete disapproval of policy underlying the demand.
Economy Cut : This type of cut motion aims that the amount of demand be reduced to certain other amount and it represent that the demand for grants should be altered.
Token Cut : This cut motion aims that the amount of the demand be reduced by Rs 100 in order to ventilate a specific grievance, which is within the sphere of responsibility of the Government of India.
The Cut Motions provide the members maximum opportunity to examine every part of the budget and criticize the Government.
Confidence Motion : The rules of parliamentary procedure in India does not provide for a confidence motion. It has come in vogue with the emergence of coalition politics under this, the government itself brings the motion seeking the confidence of the house.
Deadlock : When the Houses of parliament finally disagree over the passage of a Bill, where they enjoy equal legislature jurisdiction.
It is called a dead lock between the houses of parliament.
Discrimination : It is a difference in treatment of two or more persons or subject.
Dissolution : Under Article 85, the president dissolves the House of the people as per the procedure fixed by the constitution. The dissolution ends the very life of the existing House and fresh election is essential to form new house.
Double jeopardy : It is an objection of an accused person to repeated trial for the same alleged offence.
Electoral college : It is an intermediary body chosen by elect. to choose the representatives in an indirect election.
Electoral Roll : It is known as voter list in common-parlance, is the basic document on which the whole electoral process is founded.
Equality : It is a state of being equal in political, economic and social rights.
Expulsion : It is the unseating of members for offences committed against the house or for grave misdemeanours.
Floor Crossing : It refers to the defection of a member of parliament from the party, if he was elected to another political party.
Fundamental Duties : These are certain obligations on the part of citizen which he or she follows towards the state so that the individual may not overlook his duties to the community while exercising the fundamental rights.
Hung Parliament : It is parliament wherein no party has won a working majority.
Impeachment : A person found guilty may be removed from his office.
Judicial Review : It is the power of the higher court to review statutes or administrative act and determine their constitutionality.
Legislature : It is the body of persons in a state authorised to make alter and repeal law. It may consist of one or two houses with similiar or different powers.
Maiden Speech : It is one’s speech delivered for first time especially in parliament.
Money Bill : It is a Bill which contains provisions dealing with the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxes etc.
Migration : It means coming to India with the intention of residing here permanently.
Oath : It is ritualistic declaration, based on an appeal to God or that one will speak the truth, keep a promise, remain faithful etc.
Ordinance : Ordinances are temporary laws that are promulgated by the president of India on the recommendation of the union cabinet. They can only be issued when parliament is not in session. They enable the government to take immediate legislative action.
➤ Ordinances cease to operate either if parliament does not approve of them within six weeks of reassembly or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.
Petition : It is a solemn earnest application or request to a superior or to a person or group in authority.
Privilege : It is an exceptional right or advantage.
Question Hour : It is the time fixed for asking and answering oral questions in a sitting in a legislature.
It is fixed under the rules of the House or standing orders.
Quorum : It is a minimums number required to be present at an assembly before it can validly proceed to transact business.
For example – the presence of 1/ 10 members is required to hold the meetings of parliament. In the absence of quorum, the meeting is adjourned and no business is conducted.
Vote on account : It is an estimate of an advance payment to enable Government Departments to carry on their work from beginning of financial year till the passing of Appropriation Act.
Zero hour : One hour immediately after the question hour, is called the zero hour because it begins at zero hour ie. 12’o clock. Those question of public importance are asked which can’t wait for 10 days advance notice.
Article 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the powers of the Parliament to amend the constituion and its procedure.
1. An amendment of the constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament and not in the state legislature.
2. The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require prior permission of the president.
3. The bill must be passed by Houses with special majority that is two-thrid (2/3) of the members of the House present and voting.
4. In the case of deadlock between the two houses over the bill, there is no provision of joint sitting in this regard.
5. The president must give his assent to the bill. He can neither with hold his assent to the bill nor return the bill for reconsideration of the parliament.
6. After the president’s assent the bill becomes an Act.

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