Chapter 2
General Instructions

Regulation of business

2.1 The procedure and conduct of business in Parliament is regulated by rules made under Article 118 of the Constitution and, in relation to certain financial business, by law made by Parliament under Article 119 of the Constitution. (No such law has so far been made by Parliament under Article 119.)

 

Duties of departments

2.2 The principle of collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers renders it necessary for the Ministers to be ready to explain every action of the Government in the Lok/Rajya Sabha. This, in turn, requires the departments to be ready to brief the Minister concerned or the Cabinet adequately on all matters coming up before Parliament in whatever form they may be.

 

Duties of officers

2.3 All officers are expected to anticipate matters that are likely to be raised in Parliament and keep ready as much information as possible in respect of such matters.

 

General duties of Parliament Unit

2.4 There is normally a full-fledged Parliament Unit in each department to receive, handle, pursue and coordinate (but not deal with substantively) all parliamentary work concerning the department. The functions of this unit are:

(a)  to serve as a central coordinating point for all parliamentary work;

(b)  to keep in touch with the Lok/Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs with a view to obtaining advance intimation about question(s) finally admitted and other business to be transacted, and to transmit that information forthwith to the concerned officers/sections;

(c)  to receive through their central registry, all the dak from the LS/RS Secretariat and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (unless they are addressed by name to officers);

(d)  to transmit without delay all the papers to the concerned officers/sections;

(e)  to remind the officers/sections concerned for prompt and timely disposal of the matter till, where necessary, the concerned file reaches the Minister;

(f)  to keep in touch with the private secretary to the Minister to see that the matter is brought to the attention of the Minister without delay and to take such further action as may be called for according to the needs of the case;

(g)  to prepare the pad for the Minister and senior officers as may be required under departmental instructions;

(h)  to submit a duplicate pad to the private secretary to the Minister;

(i)   to note in the margin, where relevant, against each item in the list of business received for the day, the time allotted, the time already spent and the balance thus: “5½–3 = 2½ hours”, and if the time is not specified or the information is not available, to state this fact in the margin;

(j)   to see that the Parliament Assistant is present in the Lok/Rajya Sabha Official Gallery during the question hour on question days of the department and on days when business of the department is expected to come up in the Lok/Rajya Sabha;

(k)  to see that a representative of the department is present in the Official Gallery of each House if there is business concerning the department in both the Houses simultaneously;

(l)   to arrange for one officer of the Parliament Unit to be available every day when either of the  Houses is in session at the office telephone of the Unit from 09.00 hours till half an hour after the House adjourns;

(m) to keep in touch with the Parliament Assistant, and if he is not available, with the representative of the  Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs present in the Official Gallery, so as to be in a position to give information at a moment’s notice about the stage of the proceedings relating to that department; and

(n)  to perform such other functions as may be laid down by departmental instructions.

 

Duties of the Central Registry

2.5 All dak relating to parliamentary work from the LS/RS Secretariat and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs:

(a)  if received in the central registry, will be delivered at once to the Parliament Unit; and

(b)  if received by the night duty clerk will, where necessary, be read over to the Parliament Assistant or, in his absence, his superior on the telephone at once and dealt with according to his instructions.

Priority for parliamentary papers

2.6.1 All references received from the LS/RS Secretariat and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and all files in connection with various items of parliamentary work will be given utmost priority.

 

 

2.6.2 Each department will issue departmental instructions specifying the levels at which papers relating to various items of parliamentary work will be submitted (a) at the dak stage, and (b) for final approval.

 

Communications to the LS/RS Secretariat PRO 1.5

2.7 The LS/RS Secretariat issues from time to time such information as names, designations and telephone numbers of their officers who should be contacted in connection with various types of parliamentary business. These should be carefully noted for addressing such communications to them and no communication shall, therefore, be addressed direct to the Speaker/Chairman. All the communications from departments addressed to LS/RS Secretariat in connection with questions etc., which are normally meant for submission to the Speaker (Lok Sabha)/the Chairman (Rajya Sabha), should be deemed to be important communications and signed personally by an appropriate senior officer.

 

Presence of officers in the Official Gallery

2.8 Which officer of the department shall be present in the Official Gallery in regard to different kinds of business, will be laid down by departmental instructions. The officer of the department present in the Official Gallery will have with him all the relevant papers, including a duplicate of the set of papers submitted to the Minister.

 

Attendance during general debates

2.9 A roster of officers will be drawn up to attend Parliament during general debates concerning all departments, such as budget, President’s address, etc., expected to last for several hours (or even days) to note down points of interest to the department. Copies of the notes taken should reach the Secretary and Minister concerned the same evening. Briefs will be prepared on those points which require a reply.

 

Provisional translation in Hindi

2.10 A copy of the material required to be sent to the LS/RS Secretariat, as approved by the Joint Secretary/Secretary, will be got translated into Hindi pending approval by the Minister.

 

Supplying information to the Speaker/ Chairman for determining admissibility of any parliamentary business

2.11 In addition to the special criteria indicated in relevant chapters, notices relating to parliamentary business covering motions, resolutions etc., will be examined from the following angles when supplying information suo motu or at the instance of the LS/RS Secretariat to enable the Speaker/Chairman to determine the admissibility of the matter:

(a)  whether the subject matter falls outside the jurisdiction of the Central Government;

(b)  whether the issue involved has been considered before in Parliament or by the Government, and if so, with what results;

(c)  whether there is any objection to discussing the matter on grounds of policy or public interest; and

(d)  whether any reference or statement made is factually incorrect.

A copy of all communications sent to the Speaker/Chairman may also be endorsed to the Parliament Unit and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

 

Submission of briefs

2.12 Generally, briefs are prepared for the Minister on subjects concerning the department put down in the list of business. Such briefs will:

(a) be short but contain complete information with supporting material in appendices, if necessary;

(b) have necessary indication where information has not been received or is not available; and

(c) be sent to the Minister well in time to enable him to study the matter before the reply.

 

Confirmation and correction of speeches of Ministers in Parliament

PRO 19.1
PRO 19.3

2.13.1 Speeches made by the Ministers in a House are taken down by the official reporters and computerised copies thereof forwarded to the Ministers for confirmation and correction the following morning.

      These will be returned with corrections to the Editorial Branch by 15.00 hours the next day failing which the version, as taken by the official reporter, is treated as final. This time limit is required to be followed strictly as edited verbatim record of proceedings is put on Internet which is a time bound programme.  Such corrections will be made neatly, legibly and in ink in order to facilitate their incorporation in the manuscripts of debates correctly and obviate printing errors.

 

SD 16 A
PRO 19.2

2.13.2 Only minor corrections, viz., those in respect of grammatical errors, misreporting of quotations, figures, names, etc., are allowed. When these are excessive, the text of the corrected speech is checked from the tape-record and any improvement in its literary form or alteration of its substance by additions or deletions is not allowed. If, however, extensive changes are considered necessary by the Minister, he is required to make a correcting statement in the House.

 

Supply of spare copies of proceedings
PRO 19.4

2.14 Extra copies of proceedings will be made available by the LS/RS Secretariat if the requirements are intimated to them well in advance, i.e., by the evening of the day to which the proceedings relate.

 

Record of proceedings

2.15 Each department will maintain, for ready reference, a record of parliamentary proceedings such as questions, half-an-hour discussions, call attention notices, etc. The manner in which such record should be kept will be regulated by departmental instructions.