THREE months after the Lok Sabha faced the embarrassment of Question Hour collapsing, rules have been amended to ensure that a listed question will be taken up even if the member tabling it skips the House.
The Rules Committee of the House on Thursday made major changes for smooth functioning of the Lower House. It decided that a question, for which notice has already been given, will be taken up. This would mean that even if the member who raises it is absent from the House, the question will not be allowed to lapse.
If on a question being called it is not asked or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Speaker may direct that the answer to it be given,? the committee has said. The Rajya Sabha has already amended its rules on these lines. In the Upper House, if a member in whose name the question stands is absent, the chairman can direct that the answer be given.
Earlier, a question was not taken up in the House if the member in whose name it was listed was absent. During the last Winter Session of Parliament, proceedings in the Lok Sabha collapsed because as many as 28 members who had raised questions skipped Question Hour. Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House after taking up just three questions. The episode, which had paralysed Question Hour, had left the House and the government shamefaced. In the Rajya Sabha too many questions could not be taken up due to members skipping Question Hour, forcing chairman Hamid Ansari to say that absenteeism was a ?virus?.
The Lok Sabha Rules Committee also made other changes, which include lifting the ban on members wearing badges in the House. They can now wear the tricolour insignia on their dress inside the House.
Further, the committee also decided that if Question Hour was dispensed with for any reason on a particular day, answers to listed oral and written questions shall be deemed to have been laid on the table by the ministers to whom such questions are addressed and will form part of the proceedings of the day.
The committee recognised the fact that two separate commissions had been set up for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), bifurcating the one originally constituted for both segments. This needed another amendment.
TO SAVE HOUSE DIGNITY
During the last Winter Session, proceedings in the Lok Sabha collapsed because as many as 28 members who had raised questions skipped Question Hour. Speaker adjourned the House after taking up just three questions.