There will be significant changes in the House of Representatives (HoR) to make the government accountable to the parliament. The parliament regulations will have provisions for direct questioning of the prime minister (PM) and ministers by lawmakers and mandatory answers on the issues raised by the lawmakers.
PM and ministers will now have to answer the House regularly, according to Chairman of the committee for drafting the regulations Krishna Bhakta Pokharel.
Mandatory answers to the issues raised during zero and special hours
Ministers will now have to give answers to the issues raised during zero and special hours within five days. The lawmakers will get one minute each to speak during the zero hour in alphabetical order.
They can also speak during the special hour taking the time allotted to the parties. While the ministers would ignore the issues raised during the special hour earlier, the regulations will now require the ministers to give answers to the questions about roads, drinking water, and other different development and current affairs raised by the lawmakers. “I myself raised many issues in the parliament in the past. But no minister answered. They must answer now,” Pokharel stated.
Each ministry sends a staffer to the House on the day of meeting to note down the issues related to the ministry raised by the lawmakers. But only Mahesh Acharya, when he was forest minister, used to answer to the questions noted in that manner.
Question-answer with ministers
The regulations will also have provision of question-answer with ministers. Lawmakers can now question ministers verbally or in a written manner, and the ministers must answer them. The Parliament Secretariat will set an order for the ministers for question-answer sessions during the meetings. The lawmakers will be allowed to directly question the ministers who are giving answers standing on the rostrum. The question-answer session will be held before the meeting enters its working schedule.
The lawmakers, however, will not get to question the issues that have to be kept secret as per the Constitution. The lawmakers, similarly, cannot question the ministers on the issues that have been decided by the House session. The proposed regulation also prohibits questions for direct or indirect publicity of any individual or institution.
PM can be directly questioned twice a month
The lawmakers will get a question-answer session with the PM in the first meeting of the first and third weeks of every month when the House session is on.
The question-answer session will run for an hour and up to 10 lawmakers can question the PM on one occasion. The lawmakers who want to question the PM will have to register their name with the speaker in advance. The names and questions to be asked will have to be submitted to the speaker at least an hour before the session.
The lawmaker will have to finish their questions within a minute once the speaker calls the name. The PM will have to answer immediately.
The lawmakers will not be allowed to ask questions on imaginary or estimated issues, and those that are being considered in the parliamentary committees.
Only the parliaments in Canada and Britain allow question-answer with the PM now.