What does ‘guillotine’ refer to in legislative parlance?

Source: The post is based on the article What does ‘guillotine’ refer to in legislative parlance? published in Indian Express on 23rd March 2023

What is the News?

Amidst the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, some MPs said the government may guillotine the demands for grants and pass the Finance Bill without any discussion in the Lok Sabha. 

What is Guillotine?

In legislative language, “guillotine” means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business. 

It is a fairly common procedural exercise in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.

How is Guillotine used during a Budget session?

After the Budget is presented, Parliament goes into recess for about three weeks, during which time the House Standing Committees examine Demands for Grants for various Ministries, and prepare reports. 

After Parliament reassembles, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) draws up a schedule for discussions on the Demands for Grants. 

Given the limitation of time, the House cannot take up the expenditure demands of all Ministries; therefore, the BAC identifies some important Ministries for discussions. 

Once the House is done with these debates, the Speaker applies the “guillotine”, and all outstanding demands for grants are put to vote at once. This usually happens on the last day earmarked for the discussion on the Budget. 

The intention is to ensure the timely passage of the Finance Bill marking the completion of the legislative exercise with regard to the Budget.

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