The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is slotted for this. During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers. The questions are of three kinds, namely, starred, unstarred and short notice. A starred question (distinguished by an asterisk) requires an oral answer and hence supplementary questions can follow. A n unstarred question, on the other hand, requires a written answer and hence, supplementary questions cannot follow. A short notice question is one that is asked by giving a notice of less than ten days. It is answered orally.
Unlike the question hour, the zero hour is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure. Thus it is an informal device available to the members of the Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice. The zero hour starts immediately after the question hour and lasts until the agenda for the day (ie, regular business of the House) is taken up. In other words, the time gap between the question hour and the agenda is known as zero hour. It is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures and has been in existence since 1962.
No discussion on a matter of general public importance can take place except on a motion made with the consent of the presiding officer. The House expresses its decisions or opinions on various issues through the adoption or rejection of motions moved by either ministers or private members. The motions moved by the members to raise discussions on various matters fall into three principal categories:
It is a self-contained independent proposal dealing with a very important matter like impeachment of the President or removal of Chief Election Commissioner.
It is a motion that is moved in substitution of an original motion and proposes an alternative to it. If adopted by the House, it supersedes the original motion.
It is a motion that, by itself, has no meaning and cannot state the decision of the House without reference to the original motion or proceedings of the House.
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