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Special Parliament Session

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, a five-day special session of Parliament began, with the government unveiling the legislative agenda after prolonged suspense.

More about the news

  • Historical Precedents:
    • In 1972, a special session marked 25 years of Independence.
    • A midnight session in 1992 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.
    • A six-day special session in 1997 commemorated 50 years of Independence.
    • Separate special sittings were held in 1977 and 1991 for specific issues.
    • A special session in July 2008 included a trust vote after the withdrawal of Left support.
    • The Modi government called a joint midnight session in 2017 for the GST rollout.
    • The upcoming special session from September 18 to 22 will be the second convened by the Modi government, without Question Hour, Zero Hour, or private members’ business.
  • Special Sessions:
    • The term ‘special session’ is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or parliamentary rulebooks.
    • Article 352 refers to a ‘special sitting’ in the context of Emergency proclamation.
    • Special sessions have been called for specific purposes or to mark national events.
    • Examples include sessions in 1947 for Independence, 1962 during the Indo-China war, and 2017 for the GST rollout.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Article 85 of the Constitution deals with prorogation and dissolution of Parliament.
    • The President must summon the Houses to meet at least once within six months.
    • The interval between two sessions was originally proposed to be three months, but it was retained at six months.
    • B.R Ambedkar expressed concerns that frequent and lengthy sessions might tire the legislators.
  • Sessions and Timetables:
    • The Constitution does not provide for a fixed number of sessions or sitting days.
    • Typically, three sessions are held each calendar year: Budget, Monsoon, and Winter sessions.
    • Attempts were made in 1955 to establish a fixed calendar, but it was never implemented.
    • Dates and durations of sessions vary based on the legislative agenda.
  • Authority for Calling Sessions:
    • The Central government has the authority to call for a session, determined by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA).
    • The President informs MPs about the session details and business through summons.

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