Asking questions is an open parliamentary right of the members of the House. According to the information given on the website of the Lok Sabha, the government is put to the test by the questions asked by the members during the Question Hour.
Know all about Question Hour and its related rules (NewsNCR Gfx/Nilesh)
Know Rules for asking questions in Question hour at Parliament: Parliament Winter Session is underway. During this, questions are being asked by the Members of Parliament in both the Houses of Parliament, Loksabha and Rajya Sabha, whose answers are also being given by the Government. But in the past, two such cases came to light, in which two questions were removed from the list.
first case: A question asked by Congress MP KC Venugopal in Rajya Sabha on December 2 was removed from the question list at the last minute. His question was whether NRIs were harassed at the airport and sent back? Was he even asked to stop helping the peasant movement?
Second case: BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy also claimed on Wednesday that the Rajya Sabha secretariat did not allow one of his questions citing national security. His question was whether Chinese troops crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh? On this, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat said that in sensitive matters, decisions are taken as per the recommendation of the concerned ministry.
However, in the midst of these debates, it needs to be known and understood that what are the rules for asking questions by members in Parliament? What type of questions can be asked in the House? How are they answered? How are those questions accepted or rejected? Let us try to understand on all these aspects.
What is Question Hour?
Generally, the first hour of the sitting of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha is for questions and it is called Question Hour. It has special importance in the proceedings of the Parliament. Asking questions is an open parliamentary right of the members of the House. According to the information given on the website of the Lok Sabha, the government is put to the test by the questions asked by the members during the question hour. The minister of the ministry to which the question relates has to answer. Many a times, when the matter raised is so serious, of wide public importance that it stirs the minds of the people, then through questions, the appointment of a commission, a court inquiry or any legislation has to be made.
How did Question Hour start?
The practice of asking questions in the Indian Parliament came from Britain. It was first started in Britain in 1721. At the same time, asking parliamentary questions in India started under the Indian Councils Act of 1892. According to a BBC report, there were many restrictions on the right to ask questions in India before independence. But after independence those restrictions were abolished. Now members of both the Houses of Parliament can ask questions on any matter of public importance which is in the special cognizance of a minister.
How many types of questions are there?
There are four types of questions asked in Parliament. These are – Starred Questions, Unstarred Questions, Short Notice Questions and Questions asked to Private Members.
Starred Question: Questions whose answers are required during the meeting itself. The member asking questions wants their oral answers during the proceedings. To identify these questions, an asterisk is made on them. Only 20 questions can be shortlisted in a day for oral answer.
Unstarred Question: Considering such questions to be presented on the Table, their written answers are given by the concerned Ministry after the Question Hour. It is published in the official report of the official proceedings of the House for that day. Only 230 questions can be shortlisted for written answer in a day.
Short Notice Question: Under this, there are such questions, which are of urgent importance and are expected to be answered without delay. Such questions can be asked within a shorter period of time than the stipulated notice. Like starred questions, this one is also answered verbally. After the answer, supplementary questions can also be asked.
FAQs from Non-official Members: Such questions are asked by the member himself when the subject of which relates to a bill, resolution or such other matter relating to the business of the House for which that member is responsible. Necessary and convenient (as the Speaker may deem fit) procedure is followed for such questions, including variations, which are followed for the question being asked to a Minister.
What is the way of asking questions?
Knowledgeable in Parliamentary Affairs and working in Parliament TV Suraj Mohan Jha has NewsNCR No. Told the members whose questions have been included in the list of category of oral answers, those members stand on their seats and ask their question when it is their turn to question. The concerned minister answers the question. After this the member who asked the question can ask two supplementary questions. Thereafter, the other member whose name is included with the questioning member can ask a supplementary question.
Thereafter, the Speaker of the House or the chaired person permits those members to ask one supplementary question each by whose name he calls. The number of such members depends on the importance of the questions. After this the next question is asked. The questions whose answers do not reach for oral answer during Question Hour are considered to be laid on the Table of the House. At the end of the question hour i.e. after all the oral answers have been given, short notice questions are taken and similarly answered.
What kind of questions can be asked?
It has been mentioned in Rule 41(2) of the Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha that what kind of questions can be asked in the House. A question is asked mainly for the purpose of obtaining information regarding a matter of public importance. Questions can be asked on every aspect of the administration and the activities of the government in the House.
As members try to get relevant information during Question Hour, there is a close focus on government policies relating to national and international scenarios. According to the rules, such questions of public importance can be taken in which conjecture, sarcasm, allegation and defamation are not used.
Under what circumstances are questions rejected?
- No question can be asked of a person’s character or conduct except in his public capacity, nor can any personal accusation be made. If these questions are found to be blameworthy, then they are rejected.
- Questions whose answers are repetitions of questions already answered or for which information is available in available documents or in general reference texts are also rejected.
- If the subject matter of a question is under consideration of a court or any other tribunal or a body constituted under law or a parliamentary committee, then that question is not even allowed to be asked.
- Such questions, which mention indecent things about countries that are friendly with India, are also not allowed to be asked and are rejected. Questions relating to policy issues are also not allowed to be asked which cannot be resolved within the limit of answering the questions.
- Questions with more than 150 words or such matters not primarily relating to the Government of India are also not accepted. Along with this, the questions related to the trivial matters of the administration and the day-to-day work of the government are also rejected.
Reject once means reject!
Former General Secretary of Lok Sabha PDT Acharya talking about this Indian Express Told that “Earlier very few questions were rejected, but now such cases are becoming regular. Many questions that are under consideration, sensitive and affecting national security are not being allowed. We used to allow questions regularly and only when a serious issue comes up, the government will request the Speaker or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.”
He further said that the concerned authority should also give a good reason why the question asked should be rejected. Not being under the purview of RTI or the privilege of the House also works. It is also difficult to take such matters to court. That is, once a question is rejected, it will just remain rejected. There is no way to oppose it.”
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