An unusual scenario emerged in the Rajya Sabha as members against whom questions were listed were not present during question hour prompting Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari to wonder if the ‘virus’ had reached the chamber.

“Is there a virus?,” Chairman Ansari remarked after the first six questions could not be taken up as members —Varinder Singh Bajwa (SAD), Prabha Thakur (Congress), Nand Kumar Sai (BJP), Sabir Ali (LJP), S. Anbalagan (AIADMK), and Rajeev Shukla (Congress) — were not in the House.

This was the second consecutive day that members were absent during question hour. On Monday, Mr. Ansari informed the House that the rules would be amended to address the issue.

CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury later said the party had suggested the chamber rules be amended to allow other members to raise supplementary questions on the basis of the written answer the government submits, even if the member against whom the question is admitted is not present.

He said a lot of time and effort is invested in preparing the answers and it becomes House property on its being tabled irrespective of whether or not it was answered orally.

“So we suggested the rules be amended so that other members can ask questions. We understand that the Rules Committee had agreed to this suggestion and hope it will be formalised soon,” Mr. Yechury said.

On November 30, question hour collapsed in the Lok Sabha after 28 members who submitted notices for questions were absent.

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