The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday unanimously adopted the recommendations of the Committee on Rules to ensure that no starred question goes unanswered in the absence of the members who posed them.
The current practice is to move on to the next question if the member who poses a query is not present unless another member requests the Chairman to direct that a reply be given.
The House also decided to restrict one starred question a member a day to increase the probability of more members asking questions. The limitation was three questions a member a day.
Besides bringing two new provisions, Rules 54 and 43, the House also recommended deletion of Rule 55, which read: “When all the questions on the list for oral answers have been called, the Chairman may, if time permits, call again any question, which has not been asked by reason 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 authorised by him.”
Sub-section 3 of Rule 54 will now read: “If on a question being called it is not put or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Chairman shall direct that the answer to it be given.” Earlier the rule stipulated that: “If on a question being called it is not put or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Chairman, at the request of any member, may direct that the answer to it be given.”
The amended Rule 43 now reads: “not more than one question distinguished by an asterisk by the same member shall be placed on the list of questions for oral answer on any one day. Questions in excess of one shall be placed on the list of questions for written answers.”