Ansari proposes dispensing with Question Hour

Upset with the frequent disruptions of Question Hour, Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Tuesday again proposed to reschedule or dispense it all together.

The chairman convened a meeting of Rules Committee on Wednesday to discuss about the proposals. Rule 38 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Rajya Sabha says that unless the Chairman otherwise directs, the first hour of every sitting shall be available for the asking and answering of questions.

As soon as the Upper House assembled on Tuesday, members of opposition led by the BJP demanded suspension of Question Hour and take up the discussion on the issue of lobbying by Wal-Mart.

This led to uproar in the House. “A situation has arisen” in which the Chair has to “watch helplessly” disruption of the Question Hour, Ansari said.

“I propose two options... Question Hour should be moved to other part of day. Two, members do not seem to attach much importance to questions answered, the Question Hour should be dispensed with all together,” Ansari said this an agitated tone while adjourning the House for half an hour at 11.05, five minutes after it met for the day. Ansari had earlier also undertaken an experiment in March 2011 of shifting Question Hour to 2 pm
from 11 am, the traditional slot. The reason for shifting was again persistent disruptions.

However, it had to shifted back after demand by members. Due to disruptions, since 2009 to till 2012 (from 217 Parliament session to 226 session) in Rajya sabha of the total 214 sittings in which the Question Hour was scheduled, whopping 93 sittings no question could be answered orally.

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