Mahua Moitra and ‘cash for query’ row: How MPs ask questions in Lok Sabha

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Source: The post is based on the article “Mahua Moitra and ‘cash for query’ row: How MPs ask questions in Lok Sabha” published in “Indian Express” on 21st October 2023

What is the News?

Lok Sabha MP has been accused of asking questions in Parliament in exchange for cash and gifts from a businessman.

In this context, let us look at the procedure for asking questions in Lok Sabha.

What is the procedure for raising the questions?

The procedure for raising questions is governed by “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha” and “Directions by the Speaker, Lok Sabha‟.

Notice Submission: MPs must give notice addressed to the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha to ask a question.

– The notice includes the question text, the Minister’s designation to whom it’s directed, the desired answer date, and order of preference if multiple questions are submitted.

Typically, the notice period for a question is at least 15 days.

Limit on Notices: MPs can submit up to five notices for both oral and written answers for a single day.

– Excess notices are considered for the following day during the session.

Examination by Speaker: The Speaker of Lok Sabha reviews the notices according to specified rules.The Speaker decides if a question or part of it is admissible.

What are the conditions for the admissibility of questions?

Word Limit: Questions usually should not exceed 150 words.They must not contain arguments, defamatory statements, or reference to an individual’s character or conduct, except in their official or public capacity.

Policy Questions: Questions raising broad policy issues are generally not allowed because policy matters can’t be fully addressed in a brief answer.

Pending Matters: Question isn’t admissible if its subject matter is pending judgment before any court of law or any other tribunal or body set up under law or is under consideration before a Parliamentary Committee.

Threatens unity: A question can’t seek information on matters which may weaken the unity and integrity of the country.

What are the different types of questions?

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What is the importance of raising questions?

Legislative Control: Asking questions is an inherent parliamentary right of MPs.It allows legislative control over executive actions.

Information and Critique: Questions are used to obtain information about government activities and criticize policies.

– They shed light on government shortcomings and encourage action for the common good.

Public Feedback: The government uses questions to gauge public reactions to their policies.

– Sometimes, questions can lead to the formation of a parliamentary commission, a court of enquiry or even the enactment of a legislation.

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