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Day 23 – Q. 3 What do you understand by Zero Hour? What is its significance? Explain with the help of suitable examples.

  • IASbaba
  • December 20, 2022
  • 0
GS 2, Indian Polity, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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What do you understand by Zero Hour? What is its significance? Explain with the help of suitable examples. 

शून्यकाल से आप क्या समझते हैं? इसका क्या महत्व है? उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से व्याख्या कीजिए।


Approach –

In this question candidates need to write about zero hour ,in second  part of answer write about its significance and explain with the help of suitable examples .

Introduction –

Zero Hour is the time when Members of Parliament (MP’s) can raise Issues of Urgent Public Importance. For raising matters during the Zero Hour, MP’s must give the notice before 10 am to the Speaker/ Chairman on the day of the sitting.

Body  –

Zero Hour’ is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure. Thus, it is an informal device available to MP’s to raise matters without any notice 10 days in advance. This is because, generally, the matters are of public importance and such matters cannot wait for 10 days.

  • While the dictionary meaning of ‘Zero Hour’ is “the critical moment” or “the moment of decision”, in parliamentary parlance, it is the time gap between the end of Question Hour and the beginning of the regular business.
  • The other rationale behind naming it so can be attributed to the fact that it starts at 12 noon.
  • The emergence of Zero Hour can be traced to the early sixties, when many issues of great public importance and urgency began to be raised by members immediately after Question Hour, sometimes with prior permission of the Chairman or some other times without such permission.
  • A practice started developing that as soon as the Chairman declared “Question Hour is over” a member would be on his feet to raise a matter which he considered or felt to be of utmost importance to be brought to the attention of the House, and through the House, to the Government, and which could not brook any delay nor could it await to be raised by following the normal land available procedures.
  • The Zero-Hour proceedings started stealing the limelight in the media, thereby encouraging more and more members to take resort to this quick and handy device.
  • Zero Hour is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures and has been in existence since 1962.
  • During the sixties, members of parliament used to raise many pressing issues of national and global import after Question Hour.
  • On such an occasion, a member raised an issue about announcements of policy made by ministers outside the parliament when parliament was in session.
  • This act caused an idea among other members who called for another provision for discussing important matters in the House.
  • Rabi Ray, the ninth Speaker of the Lok Sabha introduced certain changes in the proceedings of the House to create more opportunities for the members to raise matters of urgent public importance.
  • He proposed a mechanism to regulate the proceedings during the ‘Zero Hour’, raise matters in a more orderly manner and optimize the time of the House.
  • For the Rajya Sabha, the day starts with the Zero Hour and not the Question Hour as it is for the Lok Sabha.

Example: Zero Hour

  • Shri Ravneet Singh, MP of Ludhiana had raised a debate in the Lok Sabha related to the controversial Farm Laws in the Budget session of 2021.

Significance of zero hour –

  • The zero hour is the brainchild of Indian parliamentary system it came into existence in 1962 as mentioned above the ministers are not liable to reply to the issues raised in the zero hour .
  • These critical issues are raised to attract the attention of the nation and the government .the zero hour provides a forum for MPs to discuss topics that are not included in the days agenda or are yet to be considered in the house .
  • The zero hour allows for impromptu debates on pressing issues and provides and opportunity for the government to be held accountable on matters of public interest .
  • Zero Hour used as mechanism aimed at bolstering the democratic system of the country.
  • It is essence of the functioning of the Indian Parliament and play a pivotal role in bringing the important national issues to the table, seeking accountability.
  • Over the past 70 years, the MP’s have successfully used the devices to question the government’s functioning. In the past, it has exposed several irregularities related to the country’s finances and brought important data into the public domain.

Conclusion –

An important Parliamentary instrument, the Zero Hour, has held accountable the government on urgent public welfare issues since the 1960s. Despite the fact that the parliamentary session and sitting are frequently disrupted by Zero Hour, it has repeatedly highlighted and held the government accountable for crucial problems.

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