CHAPTER VII – QUESTIONS

26. Subject Matter of Questions – A question must relate to a matter of administration for which the Government is responsible. Its purpose shall be the eliciting of information or the suggestion of action on a matter of public importance.

27. Classification of Questions – The Question shall be classified as Follows:

    1. Short notice questions;
    2. Starred questions; and
    3. Unstarred questions.

Explanation I – Short notice question means a question relating to matter of urgent public importance. It shall be distinguished by placing two asterisks. Supplementary questions arising out of the answer given can be put thereon with the permission of the Speaker.

Explanation II –Starred question means a question on which supplementary question arising out of the answer given can be put with the permission of the Speaker. It shall be distinguished by placing one asterisk.

Explanation III – Unstarred question mean a question of which a written reply may be given to the member concerned and on which no supplementary question is permissible.

28. Form and Contents of Questions – No question may be asked which does not satisfy the following conditions, namely:

    1. It shall not bring in any name or statement not strictly necessary to make the question intelligible.
    2. If it contains a statement by the member, the member asking it shall himself be responsible for the accuracy of the statement.
    3. It shall not be excessively lengthy nor contain arguments, inferences, ironical or offensive expression or defamatory statements.
    4. It shall not be asked for an expression of opinion for the solution of a legal question, or a hypothetical proposition.
    5. It shall not refer to the character or conduct of any person except in his official or public capacity, nor relate to individual cases, unless a matter of principle is involved.
    6. It shall not repeat in the same session in substance questions already answered or to which an answer has been refused.
    7. It shall not ask for information, which is available in accessible documents or in the ordinary works of reference.
    8. It shall not ask for information on a matter which is under adjudication by a Court of Law having jurisdiction in any part of India.
    9. It shall not refer to the conduct of any Judge or a Court of Law having jurisdiction in any part of India in relation to his or its judicial functions.
    10. It shall not make or imply a charge of a personal character.
    11. It shall not ask for information on matters of limited importance or on vague or meaningless matters, nor information of too many details.
    12. It shall not relate to day to day administration of local bodies or other semi-autonomous bodies. The Speaker may however, allow question which arise out of there relationship with the Government or relate to breaches of law on rules or to important matters of public interest.
    13. It shall not refer to debates in the current session.
    14. It shall not criticize decision of either House.
    15. It shall not seek information about matters, which in there nature are secret, such as, decision on proceedings of the Council of Ministers, advice given to the Governor by Law Officers and other similar subjects.
    16. It shall not deal with matters before a Committee or with matters within the jurisdiction of the Chairman of the Committee or the authorities of the House.
    17. It shall not relate to a statement made by a private individual or a non- official body.
    18. It shall not reflect on the Character or conduct of those persons whose conduct may only be Challenged on a substantive motion.
    19. It shall not raise questions of policy too large to be dealt with within the limits of an answer to a question.
    20. It shall not enquire about matters pending before any statuary tribunal or statutory authority performing any judicial or quasi-judicial functions or any Commission or Court of Enquiry appointed to enquire into or investigate any matters, but may refer to matters concerned with procedure or scope or stage of inquiry, if it is not likely to prejudice the consideration of the matter by the Tribunal, statutory authority, Commission or Court of Enquiry.

29. Short Notice Questions – (1) Whenever a member desires to ask a short notice question he shall give three clear days notice of such a question in writing to the Secretary. The Secretary will ordinarily obtain the orders of the Speaker regarding the admissibility of the question as a short notice question, within 24 hours of its receipt.

(2) After the orders of the Speaker have been obtained a copy of the question shall be sent to the Minister concerned requesting him to inform the Secretary whether he is in a position to answer the question as short notice question.

(3) If the Minister agrees to answer it at short notice, it shall be placed immediately on the Agenda or so soon thereafter as the Speaker may direct:

Provided that not more than two short notice question shall be placed in the agenda for any one day.

(4) If the Minister concerned is not in a position to answer it at short notice and the Speaker is of the opinion that it is of sufficient public importance, he may direct that it may be given priority on the list of questions for the day on which, according to rules, it would be due for answer as a starred question and be placed in a separate annexture:

Provided that the number of such priority given questions on the Agenda for the day shall not exceed three and not more then one question of any one Member shall be placed therein.

(5) Where two or more members give short notice questions on the same subject and question of one of the members is accepted for answer at short notice, the names of the other members shall be bracketed with the name of the member whose question has been accepted for answer:

Provided that the Speaker may direct that all the notice be consolidate into a single notice if in his opinion it is desirable to have a single self – contained question covering all the important point raised by member and the Minister shall then give his reply to the consolidated question:

Provided further that in the case of a consolidated question the name of all the members concerned may be backed and shown against the question in the order of priority of there notices

30. Notice of starred and unstarred Question – (1) Not less then 20 clear days’ notice of starred and unstarred questions shall be given in writing by the member to the Secretary.

(2) Such question shall ordinarily be forwarded to the Government by the Secretary within five days:

Provided that unless the Speaker otherwise decides, no question shall be placed on the list of questions for answer until the expiration of 15 days from the date of the notice of such question to the Minister or the Department concerned:

Provided further that if the Speaker is of opinion that a longer period is necessary to decide about the admissibility, or non admissibility of a question, the question shall be placed on the list of questions for answer at a day later then it should have been fixed under the rules.

(3) The provisions of sub-rule (5) of rule 29 shall also apply in the case of notices of starred and unstarred questions.

31. Time for questions – Unless the Speaker direct otherwise, the first one hour and twenty minutes of every sitting shall be available for asking and answering of questions during which-

(1) short notice questions shall be taken up first;

(2) thereafter, questions given priority under rule 29 (4) shall be taken up;

(3) then starred questions shall be taken up; and

(4) Unstarred questions shall be deemed to have been taken up in the last.

32. Copies of written answers to be made available to the Member and disposal of questions-answers in the House – (1) A copy of written answer to question shall be made available to the Member concerned one day before the commencement of the sitting for the day fixed for answer of the questions.

(2) The answer to short notice questions and starred questions shall be read out by the Minister concerned and answer to all such unstarred questions included in the Agenda, which have not been postponed, shall be deemed to have been laid on the table of the House and such unstarred questions and their written answer shall be published as part of the proceedings for the day.

33. Limitation on number of questions – (1) A member may give notice of only five questions in a day including short notice questions, starred questions and unstarred questions. In case any member gives notice of more than five questions on any day his first five notice may be taken up the rest of the notices shall be deemed rejected

(2) Not more than twenty questions distinguished by asterisks mark shall be placed on the list of questions for oral answer on any one day and not more than one starred questions of any one member shall be placed on the list. Starred questions if the member in excess of one fixed for any one day, shall be placed on the list of unstarred questions:

Provided that the total number of unstarred questions fixed for any one shall not ordinarily exceed 200.

34. Allotment of Days for Oral Answers to Questions – The time available for answering questions shall be allotted on different days in rotation for the answering of questions relating to Minister or Minister concerned in such manner, as the Speaker may, from time to time, provide. On each such day, unless the Speaker with the consent of the Minister concerned otherwise directs, only questions relating to the Minister or Minister, for whom time on that day has been allotted, shall be placed on the list of questions for answer. This rule shall not apply to short notice questions.

35. Postponement of Question due to Absence of Minister- In the event of the absence of the Minister concerned on account of special or unexpected circumstances, the Speaker, on a request being made in that behalf, may postpone the question to any future day.

36. Mode of Asking Questions – During the Question hour the Speaker shall call successively each member in whose name a question is listed with due regard to priority of questions or in any other manner as the Speaker may in his discretion decide and such member when so called shall stand in his seat to indicate his presence. If the member called is absent the Speaker shall pass on to the next questions.

37. Mode of giving Notice of Questions – The questions shall be addressed to the Minister of the Department concerned and notice thereof shall be given to the Secretary in writing.

Explanation - Questions received on a day shall be treated as of the same date irrespective of the fact that the questioner may have put different dates on them.

38. Manner of answering Questions – (1) Answers to questions shall be relevant to the subject matter of questions and may take the form of laying statements on the Table of the Assembly if so decided by the Speaker.

(2) A question shall be replied on the date on which it is listed. If the information required by the member is not available, the Minister shall state the position accordingly, and the Speaker may allow such further time as he may under the circumstances deem proper and fix a date for the answer.

(3) If the Minister is of opinion that the information required by a member cannot be given in public interest he will say so. The refusal of a Minister to supply the information on this ground cannot be raised as a matter of privilege nor can a motion for adjournment of the House be brought on this ground.

39. Questions of Absent Members – When all the questions for which an oral answer is desired have been called, the Speaker may, if time permits, call again any question which has not been asked by reasons of the absence of the member in whose name it stands, and may also permit a member to ask a question standing in the name of another member if so authorized by him or if any other member is interested in that question.

40. Withdrawal or Postponement of Questions – A Member may, with the consent of the Speaker, by notice, given at any time before the sitting for which his question has been placed on the list, withdraw his question, or make a request to postpone it to a later day to be specified in the notice, and the question fixed for such later day subject to the provisions of rule 34, shall be placed on the list after the questions tabled for that day.

41. Written answers to questions not replied orally – If a short notice or starred questions fixed for reply on any date is not taken up in the House on the said date for any reason whatsoever, it shall be deemed to have been answered and the written answer to all such questions shall be published as part of the proceedings of the day.

42. Supplementary Questions – (1) No discussion shall be permitted during the time for questions under rule 31 in respect of any questions or answer.

(2) A member may, with the permission of the Speaker, put a supplementary question for the purpose of further elucidating the facts relating to the matter under questions:

Provided that the Speaker shall disallow any supplementary questions if, in his opinion, it infringes the rule regarding questions.

43. Questions to the Speaker – Questions to the Speaker shall be by private notice. Such questions may either be answered by a written reply or in his chamber.

44. Questions to Private Members – A question may be addressed by a member to a private member provided the subject matter of the Questions relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that member is responsible and the procedure in regard to such question shall, so far as may be, be the same as is followed in the case of questions addressed to a Minister with such variations as the Speaker may consider necessary or convenient.

45. Speaker to decide Admissibility of Questions- The Speaker shall decide on the admissibility of a question and may disallow any question or a part thereof which, in his opinion, contravenes these rules or is an abuse of a right of asking questions. The Speaker shall inform the member concerned in brief the reasons for disallowing the question. He may amend a question to bring it into conformity with the rules or may return a question for improvement.

46. Power of the Speaker to change class of a question – The Speaker may convert a short notice question into a starred or unstarred question and a starred question into an unstarred question:

Provided that the Speaker may, if he thinks fit, call upon the member who has given notice of a starred question to state in brief his reasons for so classifying his question and, after considering the same, may direct that the question be so classified.

47. (1) List of Question for the Day – Out of the Questions admitted by the Speaker, one starred question of each of the first 20 member in order of their receipt shall be entered in the list of questions for the allotted day and shall be called in the order in which they stand in the list. The remaining starred questions allotted for the said day shall be entered in the list of unstarred questions.

(2) The Secretary shall prepare a provisional list of questions fixed for each working day shall send ordinarily a week before that date, its copies to all members. In case the House is sitting on that day, he shall instead of dispatching copies to the member, place them on the desks of the members.

48. Questions and Answers to be entered in Proceedings of the Assembly – All questions asked and answers given shall be entered in the proceedings of the Assembly:

Provided that a Question which has been disallowed may not be so entered.

49. Discussion on Matters arising out of Questions and Answers – (1) The Speaker may allot half an hour for discussion on a matter of sufficient public importance which has been the subject of the question and answer in the House recently.

(2)Unless the Speaker directs otherwise, the allotment shall ordinarily be made during the sitting of the House on a Tuesday or Thursday after the termination of its usual business.

(3) A member wishing to raise such a matter shall give notice in writing to the Secretary three days in advance of the day on which the matter is desired to be raised and shall briefly specify the matter or matters that he wishes to raise:

Provided further that the notice shall be accompanied by an explanatory note stating the reasons for raising discussion on the matters in question:

Provided further that the Speaker may, with the consent of the Minister concerned, waive the requirement concerning the period of notice.

(4) If necessary, two notices may be taken up at one sitting. If more than two notices have been received and admitted by the Speaker, the Speaker shall decide which two of them are to be taken up :

Provided that if any matter put down for discussion on a particular day is not disposed of on that day, it shall not be set down for any other day unless the Speaker otherwise directs.

(5) There shall be no formal motion before the House nor voting. The member who has given notice will introduce the subject in a brief statement. The Minister concerned will reply briefly. The Speaker may then permit other Member to put Question for the purpose of further elucidating any matter of fact. The member introducing the subject may be permitted to speak a second time to make a reply and the discussion will end with the final remarks of the Minister concerned.

50. Prohibition of Publicity of Questions and Answers in Advance – Question of which notice has been given by members and answers to questions which Minister proposes to give in the House shall not be released for publication until the questions are taken up and answers are given on the floor of the House or laid on the Table.

 

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