Opposition Calls The Suspension Of Question Hour An Attempt To ‘Murder Democracy’

Opposing the suspension, Trinamool Congress MP and Floor Leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’ Brien said the opposition members would lose the right to question the Government. Last week, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury wrote to Speaker Om Birla urging him to remove the halt on the Question Hour and the Zero Hour. 

Leaders of Opposition parties have protested against the suspension of Question Hour and private members’ bills in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament, claiming it was an attempt by the Centre to deny opposition members a chance to raise questions on the state of the economy and the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcements by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats Wednesday included that there will be no Question Hours in the upcoming Sessions, which will be held from September 14 to October 1, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“There will be no Question Hour during the Session. Given the request of the Government owing to the prevailing extraordinary situation due to COVID-19, the Speaker has directed that no day be fixed for transaction of Private Members’ Business during the Session,” the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a message.

Both Houses will run on Saturdays and Sundays as well, the notifications said. The Session will be held in two shifts, from 9 AM to 1 PM and from 3 PM to 7 PM. 

Opposing the move, Trinamool Congress MP and Floor Leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’ Brien tweeted:

“MPs required to submit Qs for Question Hour in #Parliament 15 days in advance. Session starts September 14 So Q Hour cancelled ? Oppn MPs lose right to Q govt. A first since 1950 ? Parliament overall working hours remain same so why cancel Q Hour? Pandemic excuse to murder democracy.”