What Do You Mean by the Rule of Lapse?

Learn about the rule of lapse and its implications on pending bills, demands for grants, and appropriations. Explore case studies and statistics to understand its significance in governance.

Understanding the Rule of Lapse

The rule of lapse is a doctrine that governs the expiration of certain legislative or financial decisions when they are not acted upon within a specified period of time. This rule applies to various situations in governance and parliamentary procedures, ensuring that decisions are made in a timely manner.

Examples of the Rule of Lapse

  • Pending Bills in Parliament Lapse with Its Prorogation: When a parliamentary session ends, any bills that have not been passed or considered for debate automatically lapse. This helps in preventing undue delays in decision-making and ensures that new bills are introduced in the next session.
  • Demand for Grants of a Ministry Lapse with Criticism: If a ministry fails to address criticisms or clear doubts raised by the legislature regarding its expenditure, the demand for grants made by that ministry may lapse. This ensures accountability and transparency in financial matters.
  • Appropriations Voted by the Legislature Expire: Appropriations made by the legislature for specific purposes expire if they are not utilized within the specified time frame. This prevents misuse of funds and encourages efficient utilization of resources.

Case Studies and Statistics

In India, the rule of lapse has been used in various instances to ensure proper governance and accountability. For example, in 2009, the Indian government decided to allow the lapse of unspent funds allocated to various ministries to prevent misappropriation of funds.

According to a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Research, approximately 20% of the allocated funds for various government schemes lapsed due to non-utilization in the fiscal year 2019-2020. This highlights the importance of the rule of lapse in ensuring efficient utilization of public funds.


The rule of lapse plays a crucial role in ensuring accountability, transparency, and efficiency in governance. By expiring pending bills, demands for grants, and appropriations, this rule encourages timely decision-making and prevents misuse of public resources. Understanding and implementing the rule of lapse is essential for good governance and effective parliamentary procedures.

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