Monday, December 14, 2009

new rule for Rajya Sabha

14 Dec 2009

Chairman of Rajya Sabha new initiative

From Our Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Rajya Sabha is amending rules to tackle an increasing absenteeism of MPs during Question Time after their questions get listed for the government's reply in the House.

The problem has been more acute on Mondays after two-day recess as many members are not able to make it due to delay in flights or train services. Some stay away at the request of the concerned minister to avoid likely embarrassment to the government if others lap on to ask unpalatable supplementaries.

At the instance of Chairman Hamid Ansari, the "Rules Committee" of the House last week approved an amendment to ensure the questions are asked in the same order as listed in the question book through ballot, no matter even if the MP asking the particular question is absent.

Sources said the "General Purpose Committee" of the Rajya Sabha had asked the "Rules Committee" to frame the necessary rules that may be brought into force from the next session. The rules will be placed before the House this week for approval.

Under the amended rules, even if the main questioner is absent, the Chair will allow three other members to ask supplementaries during the Question Hour. That way the members will not feel cheated by the questioner's absence as the present rules provide for the Chair skipping such a question to go to the next one in the list.

Sources said the Rajya Sabha is pioneering the new regime as otherwise both the Houses of Parliament as also the state legislatures had been following the practice all these years to pass over the question when the MP or MLA is not present.

The Lok Sabha's Question Hour had collapsed on December 7 when the Speaker had to adjourn the House for half an hour as most of the MPs, except three, on the question book for oral replies by the ministers were absent.

The Rajya Sabha followed the same problem of absentees two days later prompting the Chairman whether it was a virus that has spread from the Lower House to the Upper House. He had a meeting with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to discuss solution of the menace and then announced that the rules will be changed to prevent the absentee MPs derailing the Question Hour.


No comments: