"The weeklong session of the new Lok Sabha, primarily for the election of the speaker, the introduction of the new council of ministers, the leader of the house and then the president's address, began Wednesday last and is scheduled to end Wednesday, June 11."
By Arvind Padmanabhan

New Delhi, June 9 - The president's address to a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament, immediately after each general election, is a constitutional requirement provided for under Article 87(1) and lists the policies ahead of the new government.

The requirement for such an address, like the one delivered by President Pranab Mukherjee Monday, is also provided for in the rules of procedures of the two houses of parliament -- the Lok Sabha, the house of the people, and the Rajya Sabha, the council of states.

The address is also keenly watched as it generally outlines the new government's plan of action on a range of issues from domestic matters like inflation, growth and poverty alleviation, to a more broader foreign policy and attracting investment.

At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the house of the people and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the president shall address both houses of parliament assembled together and inform parliament of the causes of its summons, says the Constitution.

Similarly, Chapter Five of the Rules of Procedures of the Lok Sabha also provides for a similar provision.

The speaker shall, in consultation with the leader of the house, allot time for the discussion of the matters referred to in the president's address to the houses under article 87(1) of the Constitution, says the clause.

On such day or days or part of any day, the house shall be at liberty to discuss the matters referred to in such address on a motion of thanks moved by a member and seconded by another member, it says.

Amendments may be moved to such motion of thanks in such form as may be considered appropriate by the speaker.

Rajya Sabha rules have identical clauses.

The address delivered by President Mukherjee was approved by the Cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, June 4, after incorporating the suggestions given by each ministry and department.

The address would be followed by a debate on it, a reply by the prime minister and then the adoption of a motion of thanks on the address. After it is adopted by voting, it is conveyed to the president directly by the speaker by way of a letter.

The weeklong session of the new Lok Sabha, primarily for the election of the speaker, the introduction of the new council of ministers, the leader of the house and then the president's address, began Wednesday last and is scheduled to end Wednesday, June 11.

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be contacted at [email protected])


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