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Divided over Question Hour

delhi Updated: Apr 29, 2010 01:26 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The proposal by presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to change the timing of Question Hour in the wake of frequent disruptions has triggered a debate in political circles.

Some believe there is a need to change the mindset rather than the timing, but others feel the move might help members raise issues in Parliament.

On Wednesday, RS Chairman Hamid Ansari warned of shifting the timing as the Opposition, mainly the AIADMK, disrupted proceedings over the 2G Spectrum issue.

“The Chair has watched with great distress the constant disruption of Question Hour in this session. If it is that irrelevant, then the Chair exercises the right of invoking Rule 38 and shifting Question Hour,” he said.

According to Rule 38 of the Rajya Sabha, the first hour of every sitting shall be available for asking and answering of questions, unless the chairman otherwise directs.

Speaker Meira Kumar expressed similar concerns a few days ago. “I am thinking of measures to prevent the question hour from being disrupted.”

“If Question Hour is shifted, it will certainly affect the work of ministers and bureaucrats,” said a senior UPA minister.

The BJP does not support the move. “The nation wants to see Question Hour at 11 am only. There is a craze for it. If the timings are changed it will create problems,” party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said.

“The Opposition disrupts the proceedings only when there is some issue of national importance and when the government doesn’t pay attention ...,” he said.

But the Congress charges the Opposition with undermining parliamentary democracy. “The change of timing may help as the high decibel levels seen in the morning usually get reduced by evening,” party spokesman Manish Tewari said.