New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday gave its nod to a proposal to shift the Question Hour from 11 am to noon despite opposition by members from SP and Left parties.
The House passed the motion moved by Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien by a voice vote to approve the 13th report of the Committee on Rules for change in timings of the businesses conducted in the House.
Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari has been concerned over wastage of Question Hour because of disruptions and the General Purposes Committee of the House headed by him had taken a decision on August 11 to swap the Question Hour and the Zero Hour timings.
The report was presented to Rajya Sabha on November 25.
Accepting an amendment moved by P Rajeeve (CPI-M), the House also decided to shift the timing for calling attention motion to 2 pm from 5 pm as suggested by the Committee on Rules in its report.
Samajwadi Party leaders Naresh Agarwal and Ram Gopal Yadav, who is a member of the General Purpose Committee (GPC), voiced opposition to the changes, saying such an "experiment" will not succeed.
Yadav said he was the lone member of the committee who had opposed the changes at the GPC.
"The decision to change the timings had come into effect from yesterday but what we have noted is that in both the days the House could not function, thus defeating the purpose of making such changes," he said.
The objective behind changing the timing of the Question Hour was to ensure conduct of smooth business during this period.
Question Hour, which marks the beginning of a day's proceedings of a House of Parliament, is often witness to disruptions by members who want to raise issues. Normally, no issue can be raised during the Question Hour except those related to the questions listed for the day. Replying to the SP members, Kurien said the timing was changed in keeping with the demands from them and other members who wanted to raise issues of importance at the first hour itself by suspending the Question Hour.
"You had raised such a demand and the Chairman of the House had agreed to it," he said, wondering why they were now seeking to stick to the existing timings.
However, he supported Rajeeve's proposal to change the timings of the 'Calling Attention Motion' from 5 pm to 2 pm so that issues raised gets prominent coverage in media.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also supported Rajeeve.
The number of starred questions were reduced to 15 from 20 under the proposal while the number of unstarred question were increased to 155 from 150.
Tiruchi Siva (DMK) also supported the motion while D Raja (CPI) demanded to keep the timings unchanged.
Bhupinder Singh (BJD) supported the changes and said any changes in timings could be considered in the next session.
Earlier, the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha was shifted to 2 pm a few years ago but it was restored to original timing a few days later.