How to ask Parliamentary Questions in India
Parliamentary Questions is a technique of parliamentary surveillance over administration in a parliamentary democracy. In this system, the Government is accountable for all its acts of omission and commission to the Parliament and through the Parliament to the people. Hence, the atmosphere in the House during the Question Hour pulsates with the energizing power of democracy. In the Lok Sabha, the first hour of every sitting is devoted to asking and answering of questions and this hour is known as Question Hour.
The Question Hour starts at 11.00 A.M. and concludes at 12.00 Noon on five days in a week when the House has its sittings. No business other than questions is transacted during the Question Hour. Only oath by new members or obituary references are taken up during the Question Hour but the time taken thereon is not made good by extending the Question Hour beyond 12.00 Noon. The procedure to deal with questions is governed by the Rules 32 to 54 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and Directions 10 to 18 of the Directions by the Speaker.
Types of Questions
Members have a right to ask questions to elicit information on matters of public importance within the special cognizance of the Ministers concerned. The questions are of four types:
I. Starred Questions
II. Unstarred Questions
III. Short Notice Questions
IV. Questions to Private Members
Allotment of days for Questions
For the purpose of answering question in the Lok Sabha, the Ministries and Departments of the Government of India have been divided into five groups — A, B, C, D & E and fixed days have been allotted to various groups of Ministries for answering questions, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, respectively. Normally on Saturdays, there is no sitting of the Lok Sabha. However, if a sitting is fixed on Saturday, there is no Question Hour on that day. Also on the day when the President of India addresses sitting of the two Houses assembled together or during the period when the session is extended beyond the scheduled programme of sittings, there is no Question Hour, unless the condition of fifteen clear days for giving notices of questions is atisfied. The grouping of Ministries for answering of questions is done in such a way that each Minister has one fixed day in the week for answering of questions in the Lok Sabha and these fixed days do not clash with their corresponding days for answering of Questions in the Rajya Sabha. If there is no sitting of the House on any of the above five days on account of holiday, the questions pertaining to the group of Ministries falling on that day are not put down for answering during that week.
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