No Question Hour in Parliament’s Monsoon Session amid COVID-19

Aditi Sharma 8th September, 2020

Parliament Building, New Delhi (Source: Hindustan Times)

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which is scheduled to start from September 14 and end on October 1, will just have the Zero Hour and not the Question Hour, said news organization ANI. The Question Hour is the principal hour of a sitting meeting in which parliamentarians can pose inquiries from ministers. The Zero Hour involves MPs bringing up issues of top priority.

After the scrapping of the Question Hour in the Monsoon session of Parliament, the opposition has taken a stand against the choice and pointing towards the contention this holds.

Unstarred inquiries, however, can be presented by MPs for which they will find written solutions. Starred or oral questions during question hour which permitted MPs to pose valuable inquiries to ministers won't occur in this meeting.

From September 14–October 1, both the Houses of Parliament will sit for four hours each day consistently while obeying COVID precautionary guidelines. On September 14, the Lok Sabha will meet from 9 am to 1 pm and the Rajya Sabha's timings will be from 3 pm to 7 pm. Accordingly, the Rajya Sabha procedures will occur from 9 am till 1 pm while the Lok Sabha timings have been fixed from 3 pm to 7 pm.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said to ANI that he had asked Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to keep the term of the Zero Hour at 30 minutes. In any case, he included that the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman will take an official conclusion in such manner.

“Opposition parties are raising questions regarding the Question Hour and Zero Hour. Arjun Ram Meghwal, V. Muraleedharan, and I had spoken to every party regarding this and except for TMC's Derek O'Brien, everyone agreed in favour of not conducting the Question Hour” Joshi had told ANI.

“I have suggested Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman keep the duration of the Zero Hour at 30 minutes. They will take the final decision. The government is ready to have discussions on every issue. We have also requested the Speaker to take unstarred questions” he added.

Nevertheless, the choice has naturally maddened numerous opposition MPs who use question hour to extract information from government, cross-examine arrangements, and subsequently endeavour to scrutinise the details.

(Sources: ANI, Times of India, India Today, Times Now, The Wire)

Edited by Varun Vyas Hebbalalu

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