for Parliament Debates
What is the importance of Rules?
In order to facilitate the proper
functioning of Parliament, rules and
procedure are made and followed. By
enforcing these rules the standard of debates
in the House could be raised. In passing
laws, approving the annual budget and other
matters the Members of Parliament have to
take part in Parliamentary debates. In a
Parliamentary system, on the floor of the
House, all views, opinions, ideas and concepts are voiced in an orderly manner.
Thereafter acceptable conclusions are
What are the Rules for Members speaking
A Member who speaks should always address the Speaker. He/She
should be standing whilst he/she makes the speech. Members should
avoid speaking on irrelevant matters. They are required not
to indulge in repetition. The members should not impute improper
motives to other members. They should not refer to any matter
which is sub-judice. Other than the mover of a motion a member
is not allowed to speak more than once on any Bill or motion.
But, in a Committee of the Whole House, a member may be allowed
to speak more than once. In addition, an affected member is
entitled to make a personal explanation even though there is
no motion before the House. However, debates are not allowed
on such explanations. The members must take special care not
to use unparliamentary language.
What are the Rules for members not
They must enter the House with
decorum and should not cross the floor
unnecessarily. They are not allowed to read
newspapers, books or letters inside the
Chamber. They must maintain silence and
should not interrupt a member who is
addressing the House unless the member
speaking gives way. Smoking within the
Chamber is prohibited. The members should
not bring various items to illustrate their
arguments. Using cellular phones and tape
recorders in the Chamber are disallowed.
What are the Speaker's powers with regard to Debates?
The Speaker can request a member to
withdraw any derogatory or objectionable
remark. The Speaker also can expunge
objectionable words from the official records
(Hansard). He may warn a member who
persists in obstructing or disturbing the proceedings. He can
also "name" or request the Sergeant-at-arms to remove
the disturbing member. A member may be suspended for a few weeks.
If a member's conduct is utterly disorderly the Speaker can
order him to withdraw immediately from Parliament during the
remainder of the day's sitting.
Who prepares the Lists of Speakers?
The Government and Opposition
Whips are responsible for preparing the lists
of speakers. The lists are submitted to the
Speaker in advance and he calls upon those
members to address the House.
What are Points of Order?
If a member feels that a procedural
disorder has occurred he can raise the matter
then and there. The member on his feet
should give way when a Point of Order is
raised. After the Speaker or the presiding
officer gives his ruling , the member can
resume his speech.
Can a Member speak after the vote is
At the end of a debate, the members express their agreement
or disagreement by saying "Aye" or "No".
If a member is not satisfied with the decision on the voice
vote he may ask for a division. A division
can be taken either by counting those in favour and against
row by row or calling their names and recording their preference.
The decision as to the way in which the count is to be taken
lies with the Speaker.
What is the Quorum?
The quorum is twenty members
including the Presiding Officer. If a quorum
is not present and if the attention of the
Presiding Officer is drawn to this fact the
Presiding Officer must cause the quorum
bells to be rung and at the expiration of five
minutes if a quorum is not present he can