In parliamentary jargon, what does ‘Guillotine’ mean?

Despite the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, some MPs have suggested that the government may guillotine grant requests and approve the Finance Bill without debate in the Lok Sabha.

What is a Guillotine?

  • A guillotine is a device used to effectively carry out beheading executions.
  • It is made up of a large, weighted blade that is raised to the top of a tall, erect frame and then unleashed to descend on the neck of a condemned person who is secured at the bottom of the frame, executing them in a single, clean pass.
  • The precise device, as well as the term, can be found in France.
  • The guillotine was designed to make capital punishment more reliable and less painful in line with new Enlightenment human rights concepts.

Guillotine Motion in Parliament

  • To “guillotine” means to group together and expedite the passage of financial affairs in legislative parlance.
  • During the Budget Session, it is a fairly regular procedural exercise in Lok Sabha.
  • Following the presentation of the Budget, Parliament goes into recess for approximately three weeks, during which time House Standing Committees examine Demands for Grants for different Ministries and prepare reports.
  • The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) creates a schedule for talks on the Demands for Grants after Parliament reconvenes.
  • Due to time constraints, the House cannot take up all Ministry expenditure demands; thus, the BAC names some key Ministries for discussion.
  • It typically includes Grant Demands from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, External Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development, and Human Resource Development.

Why would you use such a motion?

  • Members take advantage of the chance to discuss Ministry policies and operations.
  • When the House has finished debating these issues, the Speaker invokes the “guillotine,” and all pending grant requests are put to a vote all at once.
  • This typically occurs on the last day set aside for Budget deliberation.
  • The goal is to guarantee the timely passage of the Finance Bill, which will mark the end of the Budget legislative process.
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