In apparent move to curb the tendency of members disrupting the proceedings as soon as the House meets for the day, the Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari on Friday decided to shift the Question Hour to the afternoon.
Starting from March 7, the Question Hour will be from 2pm to 3pm except on Fridays. On Fridays, it will be from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.
At present the one-hour question hour begins at 11 am. The proceedings of the Rajya Sabha will now begin with Zero Hour where members can raise matters permitted by the chair.
The main opposition party BJP said though they are going by chairman’s ruling, they have “reservations” about the change.
"It has been observed that members tend to raise matters of concern during and at the expense of the Question Hour," chairman Hamid Ansari said.
"There were consultations. But no consultation was held before taking the final decision", BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia told the HT.
Former secretary general of the Lok Sabha PDT Achary said, "We have to see how the new proposal works. At times members come to the House with the aim of adjourning the house for the day."
Achary said though most democracies have the Question Hour at the beginning of the day, no comparison is possible as "disruption" is something unique to the Indian system.
“MPs cutting across party lines keep the government accountable by asking questions in question hour. And while time lost by Parliament while conducting legislative business can be made up by sitting late or by extra sittings, disruptions in question hour cannot be made up. This procedural change will go a long way in strengthening the accountability mechanism of Parliament", feels Chakshu Roy, PRS Legislative Research.