Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Disgusted over disruptions,
Hamid Ansari might shift Question Hour


By Delhi correspondent

Disgusted over the repeated disruptions and adjournments, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari hinted that Zero Hour
might be taken at eleven am as the first agenda.

While delivering the concluding day I address, on Tuesday Hamid Ansari stated that 
Losing ;eight question hours,is too valuable time where the Government could have been made answerable to many of the
pressing public issues, 

Ansari spoke  220th Session of Rajya Sabha comes to a close today. It commenced on 26th July, 2010 and was extended by two days in order to transact essential Government Business.
59 new Members joined the House during the Session. I am confident they would make valuable contributions to the House in the days to come. I am glad to mention that 26 of them have already made their maiden speech.
Important legislation has been passed by the Council during this Session. Apart from transacting Government Business, the Session provided opportunities to Members to discuss some important issues through (07) Calling Attention Notices and (02) Short Duration Discussions.
I have asked the Secretary General to make available to all concerned the statistical data on this Session.
Notwithstanding the impressive work transacted in the course of the Session, the House could not conduct any Business on 5 days. In addition, there were several disruptions and adjournments as a result of which 8 Question Hours were lost.
This is a matter on which I wish to draw attention of the Members. When the rules for the conduct of business were drawn up decades back, it was not visualized that perceived concerns or grievances would be articulated through disruption of proceedings. This is now taking place with disturbing  regularity. The practice tramples on the rights of individual Members, detracts from the dignity of Parliament, and has invited public criticism.
Earlier, the Chair, recognizing the need for such articulation on matters of urgent interest and apart from what is covered under Rule 180, sought to seek a solution through the so-called ‘Zero Hour’ restricted to three minute interventions by up to ten Members. This too does not seem to meet the requirements and, as a consequence, leads to a fairly regular disruption of the Question Hour which is the most effective window available to  individual Members to seek information and accountability.
 It is evident that we need to think collectively about the matter and explore possible options for saving the Question Hour from such disruptions.  It may be noted that while the other time lost is compensated by sitting beyond the normal hours, it is only the Question Hour which is irretrievably lost in disruptions. The Chair will, therefore, continue its consultations on the re-scheduling of daily items of business in order to strike a balance between expression of perceived concerns and the normal business of the day. One option is to start the proceedings with the ‘Zero Hour’ at 11.00 AM and take up the Question Hour later in the day.

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