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Question Time of the National Council

Posted on :22 June 2010


Sub  Question Time of the National Council

  1. The Question Time is an important means for the National Council to fulfill its mandate of conducting public review of policies and issues, and of ensuring transparency and accountability. Besides, it provides an opportunity to the government to explain its policies and position on certain policy decisions as well as clarify doubts that the members and the people might have on any national issue.
  2. The Question Time has been instituted successfully since the fourth session with the support and cooperation of the government. The National Council appreciates and values the cooperation of the government.
  3. On 15th  June 2010, however, the Hon’ble Speaker wrote to the Hon’ble Chairperson of National Council suggesting that the participation of ministers in the National Council’s Question Time will affect the dignity of the National Assembly since there are important issues for deliberation in the National Assembly. He stated that while ministers will continue to introduce bills in the National Council, it may be better to have the ministers to answer in writing those questions that are important and related to policy issues.
  4. The Chairperson responded on 17th June recalling how the Question Time between the National Council and government has been successfully instituted with the kind of cooperation of the Prime Minister and other ministers. A Question Time guideline has also been mutually agreed between them in 2009. He wrote that if the ministers were not enabled to participate in the Question Time, it would affect the Parliament and not the National Assembly alone. Hence, he requested the Hon’ble Speaker to kindly permit the ministers to participate in the Question Time.
  5. Later, the Chairperson called on the Speaker to discuss the issue. The Speaker reiterated his view and suggested that alternative arrangements be made for minister’s participation in National Council’s Question Time particularly when the National Assembly is not sitting.
  6. In the present session, three ministers have already attended the Question Time when the National Assembly was not sitting. The National Council appreciates the government’s cooperation thus far in instituting the important institution of Question Time. The National Council is also hopeful that the Hon’ble Speaker will reconsider his decision and enable ministers to participate in its Question Time.


Sonam Kinga


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