No Question Hour In Monsoon Session, Tharoor Says ‘Pandemic An Excuse To Stifle Democracy’
“I said four months ago that strongmen leaders would use the excuse of the pandemic to stifle democracy & dissent. The notification for the delayed Parliament session blandly announces there will be no Question Hour. How can this be justified in the name of keeping us safe?” he tweeted. Further, he said, “Questioning the government is the oxygen of parliamentary democracy. This Government seeks to reduce Parliament to a notice-board & uses its crushing majority as a rubber-stamp for whatever it wants to pass. The one mechanism to promote accountability has now been done away with”.
TMC's Derek O'Brien has also lodged strong opposition, calling the move “excuse to murder democracy”. He said that this was the first time in the country's parliamentary history that Question Hour has been removed during the session.
2/2 Questioning the government is the oxygen of parliamentary democracy. This Govt seeks to reduce Parliament to a notice-board & uses its crushing majority as a rubber-stamp for whatever it wants to pass. The one mechanism to promote accountability has now been done away with.— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 2, 2020
Question hour is considered crucial in parliamentary proceedings because during this time the opposition parties question the functioning and the accountability of the government. Meanwhile, the government says that a large number of officers also reach Parliament to answer during the Question Hour and doing so will increase the risk of infection. However, during this Parliament's monsoon season starting on 14 September, Question Hour has been done away with while Zero Hour would be held. On the first day, the proceedings of Lok Sabha will start from 9 am to 1 pm, while the rest of the day will start from 3 pm to 7 pm. The same system has been implemented for the proceedings of Rajya Sabha. Weekends will be working days and till October 1 there will be a total of 18 meetings.
MPs required to submit Qs for Question Hour in #Parliament 15 days in advance. Session starts 14 Sept. 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— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) September 2, 2020