Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. File photo  

By suspending Q-hour, government has deprived the nation of the right to ask questions: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Suspending Question Hour has struck at the heart of democracy: TMC


By suspending the Question Hour, the government has deprived the people of India of an opportunity to question the government, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Monday as the government moved a motion citing the extraordinary circumstances under which the Monsoon Session of Parliament was being held.

Mr Azad said that in a democracy the government is answerable to people. “People of the country have no access or means to ask the question to the minister inside Parliament; their representatives are MPs. The people of India have been deprived of asking the question,” he said. He added that it would have been in interest of the country to have retained Question Hour.


Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’ Brien moved the amendment against the government decision.

“This has never happened in history during a regular session. It may have happened during a special 2-3 day session like during the Chinese incursion in 1962 or the 1975 emergency. If this government really wanted to make a meaningful suggestion they would not have struck at the very heart of parliamentary democracy,” Mr. O’ Brien said.

Replying to the opposition’s charge, Chairman Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu said Parliament was meeting in extraordinary times. Question Hour would have meant that government of India officials had to be present and that would have led to overcrowding in the officer’s gallery.


Mr. Naidu said rules permit the Chairman to suspend Question Hour if needed, but he did not want to do it without consensus from all parties. He added that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi had informed him that all parties had agreed to the suspension of the question hour. He, too, had cross checked with the parties, he said.