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‘Question Hour’ Cancellation: Opposition says govt stiffling dissent


The decision to cancel ‘Question Hour’ in the monsoon session of the Parliament scheduled from September 14 has not gone down well with the Opposition. Several Opposition leaders have termed the cancellation of the ‘Question Hour’ as an attempt to stiffle dissent.

Several Opposition leaders have slammed the BJP for the same after notification in this regard was issued. The notifications were issued by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats.

This apart, no private members’ bill will be taken during the monsoon session, whereas the ‘Zero Hour’ will be restricted. The session will conclude on October 1.

“There will be no Question Hour during the Session. In view of the request of the Government owing to 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 notification.

A similar notification has also been issued by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

Centre trying to reduce Parliament to a notice board

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor criticised the government on Twitter. He alleged that the Centre was seeking to reduce the Parliament to a notice board.

“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,” Tharoor tweeted.

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He further added: “I said four months ago that strongmen leaders would use the excuse of the pandemic to stifle democracy and 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?”

Centre trying to murder democracy

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said the coronavirus pandemic was being used to “murder democracy”.

“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,” O’Brien tweeted.


No breaks during monsoon session

There will also be no breaks during the session and both Houses will function on Saturdays and Sundays as well. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the session will be held in two shifts—9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 7 PM.

Several arrangements have been made for the 18-day Parliament session that would be held under the shadow of a pandemic for the first time ever.

Frequent sanitisation of the entire parliament complex will also be carried out. Similarly, arrangements have been made to sanitise various parliamentary papers as well as footwear. Cars of MPs will be also sanitised.

Frisking of people will also make way for touch-less security scanning, while thermal scanning will also be totally touch-free.


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