Lok Sabha Questions
Generally, the first hour of a sitting of Lok Sabha is devoted to the Questions and this hour is called the Question Hour. It has a special significance in the proceedings of the Parliament. Asking of questions is an inherent and unfettered parliamentary right of members. It is during the Question Hour that the members can ask questions on every aspect of administration and Governmental activity. Government policies in national as well as international spheres come into sharp focus as the members try to elicit pertinent information during the Question Hour.
The Government is, as it were, put on its trial during the Question Hour and every Minister whose turn it is to answer questions has to stand up and answer for his or his administration's acts of omission and commission. Through the Question Hour the Government is able to quickly feel the pulse of the nation and adapt its policies and actions accordingly. It is through questions in the Parliament that the Government remains in touch with the people in as much as members are enabled thereby to ventilate the grievances of the public in matters concerning the administration.
Questions enable Ministries to gauge the popular reaction to their policy and administration. Questions bring to the notice of the Ministers many loopholes which otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Sometimes questions may lead to the appointment of a Commission, a Court of Enquiry or even Legislation when matters raised by Members are grave enough to agitate the public mind and are of wide public importance.
The Question Hour is an interesting part of the Parliamentary proceedings. Although a question mainly seeks information and tries to elicit facts on a particular subject, there are many a time lively and quicksilver repartees between the Members asking the questions and the Ministers answering them. These repartees are sometimes coupled with flashes of wit and humour. That is why the public galleries and the press galleries are packed to the capacity during the Question Hour.
Rajya Sabha Questions
Question Hour is one of the most significant items of business in parliamentary proceedings and it gives the whole institution of Parliament the great significance it possesses. This Hour has assumed high importance in legislatures because of Government's heavy involvement in matters affecting the day-to-day life of the citizens for which Ministers are collectively and severally answerable to the people. Asking questions is a refined parliamentary device. Questions are asked primarily to elicit information, to ensure accountability, and for exercising a kind of legislative control over executive actions
Answers to questions have to be precise and accurate. The information given through the answers has a high presumption of authenticity and wrong or inaccurate answers can be construed as an attempt to mislead the House, leading to raising of questions of privilege. If it is later found that the information supplied bona fide is inaccurate or incorrect, the Minister has to make a statement in the House correcting the previous answer in case it is a starred question or lay a statement on the Table of the House in the case it is an unstarred question.
Where Ministers feel that they cannot supply complete and accurate information at the moment, they can and generally ask for time in respect of that portion of the question and assure the House to supply it as soon as it is available. Such assurances are closely monitored by the Committee on Government Assurances.