Taking to his twitter account, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said, “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?”
“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 added.
Questioning the decision of cancelling the question hour, TMC MP Derek O’Brien said, “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 further said, “During the 33rd (1961), 93rd (1975), 98th (1976) 99th (1977) Sessions there was no Question Hour as these sessions were summoned for SPECIAL PURPOSES: Orissa, Proclamation of Emergency, 44th Amdmt, President’s Rule TN/Nagaland. The upcoming Monsoon Session is a REGULAR SESSION.”
“More instances of sessions called for SPECIAL PURPOSES when no QH was held: 41st (during Chinese aggression), 201st & 216th (only President’s Address).Coming up is a REGULAR monsoon session of two weeks. So why the exception?”, Derek added.
Official bulletins by Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on Wednesday informed that there will be no question hour in both houses of parliament in the monsoon session in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The monsoon session of Parliament is scheduled to begin from September 14 and will conclude on October 1.