Dropping the Question Hour in LS schedule of Monsoon Session
Published: September 3, 2020
The Lok Sabha Secretariat released the schedule for the monsoon Parliament session that starts on September 14. It has dropped the Question but unstarred questions would be allowed. Many leaders from opposition had written to Speaker not to curtail Question Hour as it encroaches upon a member’s right and deny them an opportunity to question the government. But, In view of the COVID-19 pandemic Private Members Business which is fixed for every Friday has also been skipped. Parliament would be in session only for four hours daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Opposition parties have objected to the decision to suspend Question Hour in the upcoming session of Parliament. They said, they would lose the right to question the government. While, government said that they have always answered each question with sincerity. Government also blamed that even in normal times Question Hour was routinely disrupted by the Opposition because of which out of the 162 hours allotted for Question Hour, only 59 hours were used and more than 102 hours were lost due to disruptions and adjournment.
Question hour had also been suspended during the Chinese aggression in 1962. Then, the Winter Session was advanced. The sitting of the House started at 12 pm and there was no Question Hour held. Before the session, changes were made limiting the number of questions.
Question Hour is the liveliest hour in Parliament. It is during this one hour that Members of Parliament ask questions of ministers and hold them accountable for the functioning of their ministries. The questions that MPs ask are designed to elicit information and trigger suitable action by ministries. Parliament has comprehensive rules for dealing with every aspect of Question Hour and the presiding officers of the two houses are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour. Usually Question Hour is the first hour of a parliamentary sitting. But In 2014, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari shifted Question Hour in the House from 11 am to 12 noon.