NEW DELHI: Opposition parties may be up in arms over suspension of
in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament but records show that over 60% of question hour’s time in
in the last five years was wasted due to disruptions.
Besides, this is not the first time that question hour has been suspended. It had also been done on six previous occasions, the last time when Congress-led UPA was in office in 2009. “A reality check reveals that this spirit of commitment for question hour, given its importance as stated by the opposition, did not reflect in the House during the five year period of 2015-2019. As the ruling party has no majority in Rajya Sabha, opposition parties could not show the same spirit during proceedings in the House,” a senior
The research division of Rajya Sabha secretariat, at the behest of Chairman
M Venkaiah Naidu
, found that during 2015-19, only about 40% of the total question hour time was used to raise questions and obtain responses from the government. In the five-year period, Rajya Sabha held 332 sittings during which 332 hours were available for question hour at one hour per sitting. However, only 133 hours and 17 minutes were utilised to raise questions and obtain replies from ministers.
Moreover, records showed that question hour was done away with in 1962, 1975, 1976, 1991, 2004 and 2009 for various reasons. Sources said the decision to suspend question hour was taken after presiding officers of both Houses were informed by
the parliamentary affairs ministry
that the government had consulted political parties and there was a broad consensus. Only
was against the idea.
Government sources rejected the opposition’s charge that the session was too short, saying it was convened as per the constitutional provision. “The government wants members to stay in Delhi for a short period and once they perform their responsibilities, they can go back to their constituencies,” a senior member said. Moreover, the session is taking place for 18 days unlike some state assemblies which functioned for one, two and three days.