NEW DELHI: Opposition parties cried foul over the Modi governments decision to scrap question hour during the monsoon session and many referred to it as a death blow to democracy, though the government has agreed to the zero hour that usually allows parties to vent their views on current political events and also sees submission of adjournment notices.
The government also clarified that unstarred questions – written questions – will be submitted to members. No “starred” questions – oral questions as follow-ups to the written queries – will be permitted during the question hour, said sources in the speakers office. Typically, ministers concerned respond to oral questions on the floor of the House.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said the decision to scrap the question hour during the coming session was taken after most opposition parties gave their consent. The government argued that accommodating question hour would require the presence of a large number of officials, which would make it difficult to observe social distancing protocols in the officials gallery.
“Opposition parties are raising questions regarding question hour and zero hour. Arjun Ram Meghwal, V Muraleedharan and I had spoken to every party regarding this and except for TMCs Derek OBrien, everyone agreed to scrap question hour,” Joshi said. The minister added that he has now suggested to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to limit zero hour to 30 minutes. “They will take the final decision. We have also requested the speaker to take unstarred questions,” he added.
The move to drop the question hour in the already-curtailed monsoon session of Parliament had triggered a row with opposition leaders referring to it an assault on democracy.
While Congresss leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had written to Birla opposing the move, Rajya Sabha LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad had agreed that it would be difficult to accommodate the question hour since the House would sit for only four hours a day. Congresss AnandRead More – Source