Difference Between Motion and Resolution

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 07, 2023


Difference Between Motion and Resolution

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Parliaments are responsible for making decisions that can affect the lives of many. Hence, they cannot simply make decisions as they wish. All decisions are subject to the process of motion and resolution. When a member of The Parliament or a minister wishes to introduce a topic, he makes a motion during an official meeting. Another person who agrees with the motion seconds it and the motion moves forward for discussion. When the motion receives votes in favour, it receives approval. An approved motion becomes a resolution.

This article will focus on the different processes of proposing a motion and resolution and the requirements and rules concerning both. It also explores the differences between the two procedures.

Motion vs Resolution

Members in large organizations or Parliament raise motions. Motions can be about any decisions concerning the country. After one member introduces a motion, another member seconds it and the motion moves for discussion. During the discussion, motions can undergo amendments. After discussion, members vote on the motion. A motion is not binding. The minutes of the meeting do not include discussions about the motion. A motion is subject to debate and discussion after its proposal. The member making the motion can withdraw it after the proposal.

After a motion receives approval, it becomes a resolution. Resolutions are binding. Discussions about resolution get included in the minutes of the meeting. After its approval resolution cannot be debated or withdrawn.

Difference between Motion and Resolution in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonMotionResolution
MeaningA formal proposition raised in a meetingAn accepted motion
Recorded conversationOfficial minutes of meetings do not include discussions about motionsOfficial minutes of meetings include discussions about resolutions
Withdrawal processThe person making the proposition can withdraw it before votingAfter approval, it is not probable to withdraw a resolution
Possibility for debateMembers can engage in a debate and discussion after the proposal of motions.After approval, members cannot debate resolutions
How many approvals neededA motion needs one additional approval or the approval of a majority to move it for discussion.A resolution needs a vote in favour of the majority of the members to be approved.
UsesInitiating a proposition for actionTo approve a decision
ExampleMotion to increase the budget, schedule meetings, etc.Approving a new policy, approving purchasing new materials, etc.

What is Motion?

In formal institutions like The Parliament, members conduct meetings before making decisions. During these meetings, one member will make a formal proposal. After this, all members engage in discussions about the topic until they reach a decision. This formal proposal is a "motion”. Motion proposal often happens in The Parliament or general meetings of large companies.

Parliament meetings engage in motion proposals. Since parliaments are responsible for making decisions of great importance, they need to make a decision that every member agrees upon. Hence, proposing motions is necessary.

Parliaments do not accept every motion. After proposing a motion and having discussions, three things can happen. They can approve the motion as it is, approve the motion after making changes, or reject the motion completely. All members vote either in favour of or against the motion.

Steps of motion proposal

  • Step 1: Moving a motion

On the allocated day, the member responsible for the motion introduces it in the meeting.

  • Step 2: Admitting the motion

The Chairman allows the motion to move forward by admitting it.

  • Step 3: Discussion about the motion

Members engage in discussions and debates about the proposed motion. Not all motions are open to discussion.

  • Step 4: Voting on the motion

After discussions and amendments, members vote either in favour of or against the motion.

Different types of motions

There are three types of motions. They are as follows,

Substantive Motion

In a substantive motion, one member proposes a motion. After discussion, other members approve it. This motion can express the will of The Parliament. A substantive motion is independent. It is not a substitution for a different rejected motion or an altered version of a motion.

Examples: Motion for giving thanks on the President's address, motion for the impeachment of the current President, for removing the current judges in the Supreme Court or the High Court.

Substitute Motion

When the members reject the initial motion, an alternative motion gets proposed. This alternative motion is the substitute motion. A member other than the one responsible for the original motion can raise the substitute motion. Other members can introduce a substitute motion before discussions on the original one begin.

Subsidiary Motion

A subsidiary motion has no meaning itself. It only paves the way for the actual motion. This type of motion depends on a different motion. There are several types of subsidiary motions. They are ancillary motion, superseding motion, and amendment.

Features of Motions

Giving notice of motion

Members have to send a prior notice informing the secretary general of the intention of putting a topic to discussion. The notice has to be in written format. Notice of future motions does not have a period of notice. Members can inform the Secretary anytime. Motion notices do not require a person to second it or vote in favour of giving notice of a motion.

Requirements of Motion in Parliament Meetings

Motions need to fulfil certain "conditions of admissibility" to receive approval. These conditions are as follows,

  • The motion should broach one important topic
  • The motion should not contain any argumentative sentences, ironical expressions or inferences. It should only introduce a topic for discussion.
  •  The motion should not mention the character and conduct of any person
  • Motions should focus on recent issues.
  • Motions should not raise discussion about topics like the privilege of certain people.
  • A motion should not attempt to reopen an already-discussed topic
  • A motion should not introduce a topic already confirmed for discussion in the same session.
  • Motions should not discuss issues for which courts have legal authority.
  • If a motion is making a statement, the person raising it should ensure its accuracy.
  • A motion should not attempt to open discussion about the documents of private members.
  • A motion should not open discussion into issues under consideration of a Parliamentary Committee.
  • A motion should not raise questions which are abstract or hypothetical
  • In the case of the Indian Parliament, a motion should not raise discussion on matters that are not the concern of India.
  • In the case of the Indian Parliament, a motion should not raise discussion about people or matters under the control of people outside India.
  • A motion should not raise discussion on topics for which the ministers are not officially responsible.
  • A motion should not negatively refer to a friendly foreign country.
  • A motion should not raise topics which contain a country's secret information.
  • Members should not raise motions about inconsequential matters

Publication of motions

After members give notice for future motions and the documents fulfil the admissibility conditions, they receive approval. The approved motions are put up on the bulletin board.

Discussion of motions in Parliament

The proposal of motions, their approval and discussion are complicated processes. After the submission of motions, the Business Advisory Committee makes the decision on which motions to discuss and when. The motions on topics of urgency receive the first slots.

During the meeting, the Chairman calls the members who have the motion to make. The member proposes his motion and makes a speech on its importance. Afterwards, the Chairman moves the motion forward for discussion and amendments.

After discussion and amendments, the members vote on the motion.

What is Resolution?

After conducting discussions about a motion, all members agree on a decision. When this approval happens, the motion becomes a “resolution”.

Steps through which a motion becomes a resolution

  • Step 1: Formal Proposition

A member makes a formal suggestion for conducting an action. Another member of the group seconds it.

  • Step 2: Discussion

All members engage in heavy discussion about the motion.

  • Step 3: Voting

After discussion, the members engage in voting. Each person can vote in favour of or against the motion. If the majority of votes are against the motion, the parliament rejects it. If the majority of votes are in favour of the motion, the parliament accepts it and the motion becomes a resolution.

Different types of resolutions

Private Member’s Resolution

The private members of the parliament approve and commence the resolution.

Government Resolution

The ministers of the parliament approve and commence the resolution. Even though it is not necessary to provide a notice period for government resolutions, the ministers might give a few days advance notice. This notice helps to add the implementation of the resolution to the order of business.

Statutory Resolution

In the statutory resolution, the resolution is contingent on a provision in the Constitution. The private members or the ministers of the parliament are responsible for giving advance notice for this type of resolution.

Features of Resolution

A resolution should have certain features and follow set rules. These are as follows,

Giving notice

Members of ministers have the right to move a resolution. Minsters can move a resolution on any day without restriction. However, private members can only do so on allotted days.

Requirements for resolutions

Just like a motion, a resolution also has certain conditions of admissibility it should fulfil. They are as follows,

  • The resolution should have a clear and precise expression
  • Focus on one necessary issue at a time
  • No defamatory statements, arguments, ironical expressions, negative inferences or imputations
  • The character or personality of the person raising the motion should not affect the final decision
  • Any subject under judgment by the court is not to be discussed

Moving resolutions in meetings

After a member raises a motion, the discussions, amendments and voting on the motion happen. Motions then become resolutions.

A member responsible for the resolution then makes a speech on the allotted day. Afterwards, other members and ministers speak on the resolution. Then, the Chairman moves the resolution.

The time limit for resolution

Just like for motions, the Business Advisory Committee makes decisions concerning time allotment for resolutions too. Discussions about resolutions can happen for up to 2 hours. The mover of resolutions and the minister concerned with the resolution get 30 minutes for speech. The other members get 15 minutes each.

Withdrawing resolutions

On the allotted day, a member can withdraw a resolution when called to speak on it. The member needs to make a statement on the withdrawal.

After a resolution receives approval, it needs the permission of the House for withdrawal.

On the allotted day, if the member does not raise a discussion or bring up the resolution, the resolution is considered withdrawn.

Lapsing of resolution

When discussions about a resolution are not finalised on the allotted day, a continuation of the discussion on the resolution happens on the next allotted day.

If an unfinished resolution, does not receive another day for discussion in the same session, then the resolution lapses.

Repetition of resolution

After a resolution about a certain topic receives approval, no member can raise a resolution on the same topic until a year has passed from the date of approval of the resolution. This is in effect even if the resolution was withdrawn and did not receive approval.

Government resolution

Resolutions of the government and those of private members are different. Government resolutions not do require a ballot, while a private members resolution does. Periods of notice for government resolutions are sent weeks before the actual discussion.

Approval of resolution

After a resolution receives approval from the House, they make copies of the resolution. Each minister concerned with the resolution receives a copy of the approved resolution.

Forms of resolution

A resolution can take different forms, some are,

  • Resolutions for declaring an opinion
  • Resolutions for giving a recommendation
  • Resolutions for recording the approval or disapproval of government policies by the House
  • Resolutions to convey certain messages
  • Resolutions to urge an action
  • Resolutions to make the government aware of issues

Main Differences between Motion and Resolution (in Points)

  • A motion is an official proposition in a formal meeting. When the motion is accepted, it becomes a resolution.
  • Proposing a motion does not make it binding. Approving a resolution makes it binding.
  • The proposition of motions is not included in the minutes taken of the meeting. The approval of resolutions is included in the meeting’s minutes.
  • After a member proposes a motion, he can withdraw it before the official voting process begins. After approval, withdrawal of resolutions is not probable.  


In short, motion and resolution are procedures involved in the decision-making of The Parliament or similar large units. Motions are a form of formal propositions. When those propositions are accepted, it becomes resolutions. The Parliament makes decisions with serious stakes. Hence, it is necessary to have procedures like motion and resolution.



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"Difference Between Motion and Resolution." Diffzy.com, 2024. Thu. 13 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-motion-and-resolution>.

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