In a fresh attempt to minimise disruptions, Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday accepted a suggestion to have a Zero Hour everyday to allow members to raise important issues.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Ansari and leaders of different political parties to ensure smooth functioning of the Rajya Sabha. Ansari had called the meeting after many MPs took objection to his suggestion last week whether the House had become a “federation of anarchists.”
Zero Hour had come into existence in the Indian Parliament in the 1960s to allow MPs to raise issues of public importance with the permission of the chair when they have given a prior notice and in some cases, even without notice.Till now, the Zero Hour was allowed on all working days in the Lok Sabha during the session, but in the Rajya Sabha, it was kept only on alternate days.
Sources said the representatives of various parties assured the chairman that the Question Hour will function normally and there is no need to shift it from its original slot of 11 AM every morning.
It has also been decided not to impose a three-minute restriction on members who wish to raise issues during the Zero Hour and allow them reasonable time to place their views.
Sources close to the Chairman said the new system will be exercised on an experimental basis till the remaining period of the current session and in case of violations, another all-party meeting will be convened.
They said the issue of Ansari’s “anarchist” remark also came up at the meeting and the parties left it to the Chairman to consider the demand for withdrawal of these comments.
Among those who attended the meeting were BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sitaram Yechury (CPM), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), Brajesh Pathak (BSP), V Maitreyan (AIADMK), Kanimozhi (DMK), YS Chowdary (TDP) and Naresh Gujral (SAD).