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Opposition criticises ‘no question hour’ move for Parliament session

New Delhi: The decision to do away with the question hour  in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament has generated questions and criticism from Opposition parties on Wednesday.

The notifications issued by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats said that in the wake of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there will be no Question Hour and Private Members’ business during the Monsoon Session. However, Zero Hour will be held as per schedule but restricted.

Trinamul Congress MP Derek O’Brien criticised that pandemic was being used as an excuse to murder democracy in a tweet.

“MPs required to submit questions for Question Hour in Parliament 15 days in advance. Session starts from 14th September. So Question Hour cancelled ? Opposition MPs lose right to question govt. A first since 1950? Parliament overall working hours remain same so why cancel Question Hour? Pandemic excuse to murder democracy,” O’Brien said.

“More instances of sessions called for SPECIAL PURPOSES when no QH was held: 41st (during Chinese aggression), 201st & 216th (only President’s Address).Coming up is a REGULAR monsoon session of two weeks. So why the exception?” he said in another tweet.

While Congress MP Shashi Taroor asserted that said questioning the government was the oxygen of parliamentary democracy.  
“Questioning the government is the oxygen of parliamentary democracy.

This Govt seeks to reduce Parliament to a notice-board and uses its crushing majority as a rubber-stamp for whatever it wants to pass. The one mechanism to promote accountability has now been done away with,” he said.

“I said four months ago that strongmen leaders would use the excuse of the pandemic to stifle democracy and dissent. The notification for the delayed Parliament session blandly announces there will be no Question Hour. How can this be justified in the name of keeping us safe?” Tharoor asked on Twitter.

Even though Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury  had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to not curtail the Question Hour and Zero Hour as it encroaches on an MP’s right to question the government, but government may not agree.

The monsoon session of Parliament that usually gets underway by the third week of July was postponed because of COVID-19 and will now start on September 14.

Source: Derek O’Brien/Twitter