For the first time in two decades, the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha collapsed on Monday because of the most baffling reason: The absence of MPs.
When the House assembled after a three-day recess, only 70 members were present and only two of the 28 MPs listed to ask questions were present during the Question Hour.
Lok Sabha leader Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal found themselves at a loss of words.
Embarrassed about the situation, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was forced to adjourn the House, the session was less then half way into the Question Hour.
Over past five years, less than 20 per cent starred questions have actually been discussed in the House, according to figures released by the Parliamentary Research Service (PRS) - a New Delhi-based research organisation (see box).
"Question Hour is a time that shows the essence of democracy... The absence of so many members during this session is a serious business,” the Speaker told reporters outside Parliament.
"Unruly members have often disrupted the Question Hour in the past. It is time to ensure that there is cooperation between Parliament and the MPs, so that the House can run smoothly," she added.