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What are starred questions?

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

What are starred questions?

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Difference between Starred and unstarred questions, supplementary questions.

Context: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi recently said his right as an MP to ask a supplementary question in Lok Sabha was taken away as Speaker Om Birla did not allow him to ask one. 

Rahul Gandhi was asking the government to name wilful bank loan defaulters, but was not allowed another supplementary question amid uproar in the lower house.

The right of MPs to question:

Members of Parliament have a right to ask questions which is one of the devices available to them to seek information on matters of public importance.

The Question Hour is one such mechanism in which the members ask questions on varied aspects of administration and governmental activity.

What is Question hour?

  • The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is termed as Question hour.
  • It is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of the House.
  • During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.

How many starred questions can be asked?

The number of starred questions was fixed at 20 per Question Hour from the fourth session of the fifth Lok Sabha in 1972.

Type of Questions:

Members have a right to ask questions to elicit information on matters of public importance within the special cognizance of the Ministers concerned. The questions are of three types:

Starred Questions: A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer from the Minister in the House and is required to be distinguished by him/her with an asterisk. Answer to such a question may be followed by supplementary questions by members.

Unstarred Questions: An Unstarred Question is one to which written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by Minister. Thus it is not called for oral answer in the House and no supplementary question can be asked thereon.

Short Notice Questions: A member may give a notice of question on a matter of public importance and of urgent character for oral answer at a notice less than 10 days prescribed as the minimum period of notice for asking a question in ordinary course. Such a question is known as ‘Short Notice Question’.

 Questions to Private Members:

A Question may also be addressed to a Private Member (Under Rule 40 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha), provided that the subject matter of the question relates to some Bill, Resolution or other matter connected with the business of the House for which that Member is responsible. The procedure in regard to such questions is same as that followed in the case of questions addressed to a Minister with such variations as the Speaker may consider necessary.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Question hour vs Zero hour.
  2. Starred vs unstarred vs short notice questions.
  3. When can supplementary questions be allowed?
  4. Role of chairperson I this matter.
  5. Questions to private members.

Mains Link:

Examine the various ways in which parliament exercises control over the executive?

Sources: the Hindu.