In parliament there are Various types of motion, resolution, question hour and zero hour etc. come as a means of parliamentary proceedings.
In this article, we will mainly discuss Question Hour and Zero Hour, as well as look at some other important aspects related to it, so read the article till the end;
Meaning of Instrument of Parliamentary Proceedings
In a parliamentary democracy, the government is collectively accountable to the parliament for its actions. In such a situation, for the proper review of the actions and decisions of the government, MPs get many types of resources. With the help of these means, they prevent the government from becoming unruly. Question Hour and Zero Hour are a part of the same instrument of parliamentary proceedings. Through which MPs play their role in fixing the accountability of the government.
An MP can raise issues in the House on behalf of his party or can do so independently. The names of the members who have to speak in the House are chosen by the Speaker. In some procedures, Parliament can freely assign its names. In some other processes, the party leadership decides which MPs to speak on which issue and the names of those MPs are sent to the Speaker.
Normally Parliament works in 3 sessions :- 1. Budget session (February to May) 2. Monsoon session (July to September) 3. Winter session (November to December)
The sessions of the Houses begin with the notification of the President. One thing to be remembered here is that the house runs only when at least 55 members are present in the Lok Sabha and at least 25 members are present in the Rajya Sabha , it is called a quorum, if the quorum is not complete then the house is adjourned.
Work is done in two shifts in a day in Parliament. The first meeting in the morning from 11 am to 1 pm and the second meeting from 2 am to 6 pm. However, if the Presiding Officer wants, he can increase or decrease this time.
Question Hour :-
The first hour of the sitting of the Lok Sabha is for the Question Hour, that is, from 11 am to 12 noon. It is used by the Members of Parliament to fix the accountability of the government. During this time, MPs can ask questions to a minister about the implementation of laws and policies under the purview of his ministry.
What type of questions are asked?
Three types of questions are asked under Question Hour; Starred question , Unstarred question and Short notice question .
Starred question -There are some questions which can be answered orally. In other words, a starred question can be asked by any MP and the minister concerned is authorized to answer orally. It may be noted that only one starred question can be asked by an MP in a day. For this, advance application has to be made 15 days in advance and only 20 questions are selected for oral answer in a day. The selection of these 20 questions is done by ballot. ,
Apart from this, the Member of Parliament asking the question can ask a maximum of two supplementary questions. The Speaker may, if he so desires, allow three other Members of Parliament to ask supplementary questions.
Starred questions are perfect for knowing the government’s views on various issues and policy approaches . After this, MPs can ask supplementary questions and other MPs can also ask questions related to them.
Supplementary questions are used to seek answers from the government on issues which were not or could not be answered in the main question. The list of starred questions is available five days in advance. This gives the Members of Parliament time to prepare for supplementary questions. Normally 5-6 questions are answered in one hour allotted for Question Hour.
Unstarred question – Such questions, which are answered in writing. The answer to this is given in writing by the Ministry. These questions are presented 15 days in advance. Maximum 230 unstarred questions are selected in a day.
A Member of Parliament can present a maximum of 10 questions in a day out of which five questions can be listed in his name. And a question can be starred. Supplementary questions are not allowed after an unstarred question.
Short notice question – Such questions are related to matters of urgent and public interest. At least 10 days notice is asked. Like starred questions, answers to short notice questions are also oral, followed by supplementary questions. Such questions are accepted at the discretion of the Speaker with the concurrence of the Minister concerned. This process is rarely used. No such question has been accepted in the last 10 years.
Zero hour :-
Zero Hour begins immediately after Question Hour. Its duration is also 1 hour. During this period, any member can put any matter on the table of Parliament for discussion without any prior notice. This period is usually used to raise such issues which are urgent and cannot be waited for like question hour. To raise issues during this period, the Members of Parliament have to give notice to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha before 10 am on the day of the sitting itself. However, the Speaker decides which issue should be allowed to be raised and which should not. Apart from this, short notice questions can also be asked during Zero Hour.
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Other means of parliamentary proceedings
Members of Parliament can raise and debate various issues in the House. Many of these are asked as proposals and then voted on. Some are simply discussed without voting. There are many occasions when Members of Parliament themselves can take initiative and raise various important issues. These processes can be seen below-
Private Members’ Motions
Such MPs, who are not involved in the government, can move their suggestions, ideas, motions to approve or disapprove any law or policy of the government or to draw the attention of the government to a particular issue. This is called private members’ motion. These MPs are expected to give notice for the motion two days in advance. The last two and a half hours of Friday’s meeting are for legislators and proposals from non-official members.
This motion is brought when a member of the House, with the advance permission of the Presiding Officer of the House, wishes to draw the attention of a Minister to a matter of urgent public importance. Such as – any accident, disturbance etc. Under this proposal an authorized statement is required from the Minister on a matter of an urgent nature. Explanation questions may be asked after the Minister’s statement and each such question is answered by the Minister.
This is just to draw attention, there is neither regular discussion nor voting on this. Two such issues are allowed to be raised in one day’s sitting.
half hour discussion
When a Starred or Unstarred question requires additional clarification, a Member of Parliament may initiate a half-an-hour discussion. For this he is expected to give an advance notice of three days in which he has to explain the reason for this discussion. During this, a maximum of four other MPs can ask questions. The Business Advisory Committee may identify some of these issues for detailed discussion and inform the Party so that the Party can nominate a person who will speak on their behalf.
short term discussion
Under this provision, a Member of Parliament can initiate discussion on a matter of urgent public interest. The Member of Parliament has to give notice in this regard to the Speaker explaining the particulars relating to that matter and the reasons for raising it. At the end of the discussion the reply is given by the Minister concerned. It is also called a two-hour discussion because it does not take more than two hours for such a discussion. The Speaker may provide three days in a week for debate on it. [If this short-term discussion is to be placed before the House as a motion, then rule 184 is used.]
This resolution is brought to the attention of the government on an urgent issue of public interest and by criticizing its decision. Under this, a motion is made to adjourn the proceedings of the House. Notice of adjournment motion has to be given before 10 a.m. on the day of motion. If the adjournment motion is adopted, the House is adjourned after voting. This means that there is a strong disagreement with the policies of the government, although there is no need to resign from the government.
No confidence motion
No-confidence motion is placed against the Council of Ministers. This motion notice is given before 10 a.m. on the day of the meeting. Introducing this resolution means that the member of parliament is not satisfied with the work of the government and according to them the government should resign. The consent of at least 50 members is required to bring this proposal. When the motion is accepted, there is a debate on it. After this the vote is taken on this motion. If the resolution is passed, the government has to resign.
President’s Address and Motion of Thanks
Both the Houses of Parliament are addressed simultaneously by the President at the beginning of the session after each general election and at the beginning of a first session every year. This is called the President’s Address. After each address, the Motion of Thanks is discussed by the Members of Parliament and answered by the Prime Minister. This motion needs to be passed in the House. If it is not passed, it is considered a defeat of the government. [MPs can also propose amendments to the Motion of Thanks. An amendment to the Address in the Lok Sabha means that a no-confidence motion is being brought against the government.]
While answering a question or discussion, the Minister can assure the House that action will be taken by the Government and the same will be informed to the House. The minister is accountable to such assurances and has to be fulfilled within three months. For this purpose an assurance committee has been formed which monitors such assurances of the government.
Subject under rule 377
Subjects which cannot be raised under the rules relating to questions, short notice questions, calling attention, etc., can be raised under rule 377. Members of Parliament in their personal capacity may raise matters under this rule with the permission of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. For this, notice has to be given before 10 am on the day of the meeting.
All in all, this is Question Hour, Zero Hour and other means of parliamentary proceedings related to it. Apart from this, various types of motion and resolution also come as a means of action. Be sure to read that too for better understanding.