The Parliament is being readied for the upcoming session amid the coronavirus pandemic but the Lok Sabha secretariat has now gone ahead and announced a crucial change to the normal functioning of the monsoon session of the Parliament. It has been decided that in the session thats coming up from September 14, there will be no Question Hour. The decision to drop the Question Hour is a significant one because this is a change that is likely to impact counter-arguments and discussions that are critical to sessions of the Indian Parliament. Many leaders of the Opposition including Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury have written to the Speaker Om Birla and asked him to do something about the curtailment of the Question Hour and have seen the decision to do so as an encroachment of the members’ rights and a denial of their chance to ask questions to the government.
Important routine functions of the Parliament such as the Private Members’ Business has also been skipped keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javedkar has said that the curtailment and cancellation of the Question Hour is being done keeping in mind the fact that the Parliament Session is being held amid such challenging times.
He said that he and his party were in constant touch with all other parties and would further update at an appropriate time. The session will have different timings in order to accommodate members of each of the two houses in both chambers so that the social distancing norms can be followed.
The Lok Sabha will witness its proceedings from 9 am to 1pm on the first day. Then from September 15 to October 1, it will have its sitting from 3pm to 7pm. The Rajya Sabha will begin work from the second day between 9am to 1 pm. A break will also be taken to ensure that both the chambers are disinfected. The upcoming session will have 18 sittings and will be completed on October 1.