Question what question
December 2, 2009 Leave a comment
Recently the Honble Members of Parliament gave a grand miss to the Question Hour at Parliament. Though 20 odd questions were listed for the day only 3 or so could be taken up as the MPs who had posed the questions were found absent.
It caused the House to be adjourned with the Speaker Madam Meira Kumar lamenting the absence of the Members. The action of the Congress members invited immediate reprimand from Queen Bee Sonia who cracked the whip on the erring members.
The melodrama surrounding the Question Hour actually beats me. To me the entire Question Hour is an exercise in futility having very little meaning or purpose.
Let us first look at the timing of the Question Hour. To the best of my information, the Question Hour is slated to start from 12 Noon, exactly the time for lunch. With a grumbling stomach, neither the MP who asked the question nor the minister answering it has any seriousness about the exercise.
The process of asking the question is strictly parliamentary and certainly useless. The questions have to be posted to the Minister through the Speaker’s office several days in advance giving time for the Minister concerned to get his office to work on the question and churn out answers that no one is interested in and figures that no one bothers to verify.
If the question has already been posted, pray why it is necessary for the member to ask it again in the House ? Don’t we have other ways than this to waste the time of the Parliament ? What about the good old habits of gheraoing the Speaker or assembling at the “well” of the House ?
In this era why do the questions have to be answered in the House ? Agreed that by conservative estimates around 50% of the members of the House are not even literate to sign their names but I presume they are not the ones to post the questions.
So why can’t the process be changed to posting the question to the Parliament website and the ministry concerned posts it’s response ?
And about the quality of the questions, the less said the better. It can put the viewer to sleep. It can range from asking the count of polar bears in Delhi Zoo to the average waiting time at 10, Janpath.
The Question Hour is a sham of Governance. Everyone knows it and it is just that no one is willing to admit it.