The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 12 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Scrap question hour, says Ansari

New Delhi, Dec. 11: Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari today suggested that question hour be “dispensed with altogether” after Opposition members had disrupted the Q&A session yet again since the House started proceedings this morning.

Members have been disrupting the hour-long session — the first of the day — over issues like FDI in multi-brand retail since Parliament reopened on November 22.

This morning, soon after the upper House started proceedings at 11, Trinamul’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy demanded the Prime Minister make a statement on Walmart’s disclosures, while BJP MPs demanded a probe. Samajwadi MPs raised slogans against a bill on reserving promotions for SC/ST government employees.

Ansari said a situation had arisen in which the Chair “has to watch helplessly” frequent disruptions of question hour.

“I, therefore, propose to call a meeting of the rules committee and put before the members of the committee two options. One, that the question hour be moved to another part of the day. Two, since members don’t seem to attach very great importance to the questions being answered, the question hour be dispensed with altogether.”

The House then adjourned for thirty minutes but that didn’t help much as the BJP’s Venkaiah Naidu continued to demand that question hour, when MPs ask questions on any subject of public interest, be dispensed with.

Ansari said the Walmart issue would be discussed at 12pm after zero hour starts. “…Can we now get on with the question hour?” he asked.

Naidu would have none of it. He said question hour had been suspended last week for discussions on FDI.

“It is something that can be taken up at 12 ’clock. What is the difficulty?” Ansari said.

“What is the difficulty if it is taken up at 11 ’clock?” Naidu responded.

“Because we follow certain procedure…. There is a certain procedure to be followed,” Ansari said.

With Naidu unwilling to let question hour proceed, Ansari adjourned the House till 12. The Walmart issue was later taken up during zero hour.