Question: The suspension of Zero Hour in upcoming monsoon session is serious degradation of accountability of the executive. Explain significance of Question Hour, Zero Hour in maintaining parliamentary values.
Answer: The Central government has cited pandemic as a reason for suspending Zero hour from parliamentary procedure in upcoming session. Considering the implications of this move, opposition parties have protested.
Question hour is the first hour after commencement of a sitting of the house. The question hour provides opportunity for members to raise questions and ministers or other members give answers. The questions are divided into starred, unstarred and short notice.
- Starred: Requires oral answers and supplementary questions can be asked.
- Unstarred: Requires oral answers and no supplementary questions can be asked.
- Shortnoticequestions: Questions asked by giving notice of less than 10 days.
It is usually conducted at 12 noon until the agenda of the day. It is an informal device and hence not mentioned in the rules of procedure. It is a Indian innovation. Members can raise matters without prior notice.
Significance of Question Hour and Zero Hour
- Increases responsibility of executive
These features are used by members to question both private members and ministers with regards to any matter of importance. The ministers are obliged to answer the queries raised in the house. It thus acts as a mechanism to increase responsibility of executive towards Parliament.
- Platform for members to raise concern
Members of the Parliament can raise any issue in the house during question hour and zero hour. It thus provides them opportunity to address issues involving their states or constituency. They also can ensure that government is taking steps to solve the concern that they had raised earlier.
Thus, Zero hour was significant for opposition members to monitor government actions. Its suspension can be better handled if alternative mechanism is adopted.