Sanctity of question hour stressed at whips meet

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Mumbai, Feb 5 (UNI) Delegates at the 14th All India Whips Conference, that concluded here today, unanimously agreed that sanctity of the question hour shall be maintained under all circumstances and concerted efforts made to ensure that there is no disruption of the proceedings of the house in Parliament and state legislatures.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee when asked, what concerted efforts meant, he replied, ''It is attitude of members.'' Maharashtra Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshvardhan Patil said that before the budget session of the state legislature, beginning from March 10, a meeting of all whips will be convened and the recommendation of the 14th whips conference debated.

''All delegates have resolved to ensure that question hour will not be allowed to be disrupted. It has been agreed that question hour should not be suspended. If there is any urgent issue that needs to be highlighted, it should be after the question hour. The Speaker should give his ruling immediately,'' Mr Patil informed.

The recommendation will be debated again in the meeting of whips before the budget session begins and will be placed before the Rules Committee. ''If needed, existing rules can be amended,'' he added.

He admitted that 'political will' is important to ensure that the Legislature functions smoothly.

The conference decided that a committee, headed by union parliamentary affairs minister, will be set up to persue the recommendations of the 13th All India whips conference. Other members will be ministers of parliamentary affairs from West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

The committee will have its first meeting in New Delhi in April.

Similarly, for ensuring proper implementation of the recommendations of the 14th All India Whips conference, a meeting of ministers of parliamentary affairs of all states will be held in Delhi in May and the committee will regularly meet every three months to monitor the implementation of the recommendations till the next conference takes place.

The conference recommended a model role and responsibilities for the whips. The chief whip of any party according to the strength recognized by the respective centre and state legislatures should be given assistance from the respective state or central legislature to the extent possible. Status of chief whips of the opposition should be the same as the status of chief whips of the ruling party, it asserted.

UNI MR RN SP HT2257

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