Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Rule 267 becomes the bone of contention in Rajya Sabha


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Rule 267 of Rajya Sabha

Mains level: Significance of Rajya Sabha


Rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook, which allows for suspension of day’s business to debate the issue suggested by a Member, has become a bone of contention in the Upper House.

What is Rule 267 of Rajya Sabha?

  • The Rule gives special power to a Rajya Sabha member to suspend the pre-decided agenda of the House, with the approval of the Chairman.
  • The Rajya Sabha Rule Book says, “Any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day.
  • If the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being: provided further that this rule shall not apply where specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules”.

Why this rule has become important?

  • In the Upper House, the Opposition members have been consistent in demanding a debate on the India-China border situation.
  • There have been hundreds of notices by Members to invoke Rule 267 in the past eight years.
  • After the latest clash between the two sides in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang, the Opposition members have become more vocal with their demand.
  • Every day, Opposition leaders are demanding that the Chair suspends all other business and allow a discussion on the latest situation in India-China border by applying Rule 267.

Is Rule 267 the only way to raise important issues in the House?

In Parliament, a member has a number of ways to flag issues and seek the government’s reply.

  • Question Hour: An MP can ask questions related to any issue during the Question Hour in which the concerned minister has to provide oral or written answers.
  • Zero Hour: An MP can raise the issue during Zero Hour. Every day, 15 MPs are allowed to raise issues of their choice in the Zero Hour.
  • Special Mention: An MP can even raise it during Special Mention. A Chairman can allow up to 7 Special Mentions daily.
  • Debate over president’s address: An MP can try to bring the issue to the government’s notice during other discussions such as the debate on the President’s speech.
  • Budget speech: Opposition leaders have also used the Budget debate to attack the government politically.

Why the Opposition is insisting on Rule 267?

  • Any discussion under Rule 267 assumes great significance in Parliament simply because all other business would be put on hold to discuss the issue of national importance.
  • No other form of discussion entails suspension of other business.
  • If an issue is admitted under Rule 267, it signifies it’s the most important national issue of the day.
  • Also, the government will have to respond to the matter by replying during the discussions under Rule 267.

What is the current controversy over Rule 267?

  • Opposition members have alleged that the Rajya Sabha chairman has consistently refused to allow any discussion under Rule 267 for a long time.
  • While Dhankhar has not allowed any matter under Rule 267, his predecessor M Venkaiah Naidu too didn’t allow any admission under Rule 267 during his entire five years.

Has the Rule been ever used?

  • The rule has been used several times.
  • The Chair had agreed to suspend the business to discuss urgent national issues in the past.
  • The last time it was used was in November 2016, when the Upper House invoked Rule 267 to discuss demonetization.


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