Sixteenth Lok Sabha
Admissibility of Questions

The conditions governing admissibility of questions have been laid down under Rule 41 to 44 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha. Apart from these provisions, admissibility of questions is also determined by Direction 10A of the Directions by the Speaker, Lok Sabha, past precedents, decisions and observations from the Chair, well-established parliamentary practices, usages and conventions. 

Questions relating to statutory corporations and limited companies in which Government have financial or controlling interest are examined on merits and their admissibility is regulated generally in the following manner: 

(i) where a question relates to a matter of policy or refers to an act or omission on the part of a Minister or raises a matter of public interest, although it may pertain to a matter of day-to-day administration or an individual case, it is ordinarily admitted. 

(ii) a question which calls for information of statistical or descriptive nature is generally admitted as Unstarred; and 

(iii) a question which clearly relates to day-to-day administration and tends to throw work on the Ministries and the Corporation not commensurate with the results to achieved therefrom is normally disallowed. 

The rules of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and direction of Directions by the Speaker Lok Sabha which are ordinarily followed in deciding admissibility of the questions are detailed hereunder: 

Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha

41. (1) Subject to the provisions of sub-rule (2), a question may be asked for the purpose of obtaining information on a matter of public importance within the special cognizance of the Minister to whom it is addressed. 

(2) The right to ask a question is governed by the following conditions, namely:- 

(i) it shall be clearly and precisely expressed and shall not be too general incapable of any specific answer or in the nature of a leading question; 

(ii) it shall not bring in any name or statement not strictly necessary to make the question intelligible; 

(iii) if it contains a statement the member shall make himself responsible for the accuracy of the statement; 

(iv) it shall not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets or defamatory statements; 

(v) it shall not ask for an expression of opinion or the solution of an abstract legal question or of a hypothetical proposition; 

(vi) it shall not ask as to the character or conduct of any person except in his official or public capacity; 

(vii) it shall not ordinarily exceed 150 words; 

(viii) it shall not relate to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government of India; 

(ix) it shall not ask about proceedings in the Committee which have not been placed before the House by a report from the Committee. 

(x) it shall not reflect on the character or conduct of any person whose conduct can only be challenged on a substantive motion; 

(xi) it shall not make or imply a charge of a personal character; 

(xii) it shall not raise questions of policy too large to be dealt with within the limits of an answer to a question; 

(xiii) it shall not repeat in substance questions already answered or to which an answer has been refused; 

(xiv) it shall not ask for information on trivial matters; 

(xv) it shall not ordinarily ask for information on matters of past history; 

(xvi) it shall not ask for information set forth in accessible documents or in ordinary works of reference; 

(xvii) it shall not raise matters under the control of bodies or persons not primarily responsible to the Government of India; 

(xviii) it shall not ask for information on matter which is under adjudication by a court of law having jurisdiction in any part of India; 

(xix) it shall not relate to a matter with which a Minister is not officially concerned; 

(xx) it shall not refer discourteously to a friendly foreign country; 

(xxi) it shall not seek information about matters which are in their nature secret, such as composition of Cabinet Committees, Cabinet discussions, or advice given to the President in relation to any matter in respect of which there is a constitutional, statutory or conventional obligation not to disclose information;] 

(xxii) it shall not ordinarily ask for information on matters which are under consideration of a Parliamentary Committee; and 

(xxiii) it shall not ordinarily ask about matters pending before any statutory tribunal or statutory authority performing any judicial or quasijudicial functions or any commission or court of enquiry appointed to enquire into, or investigate, any matter but may refer to matters concerned with procedure or subject or stage of enquiry, if it is not likely to prejudice the consideration of the matter by the tribunal or commission or court of enquiry.] 

Questions on matters of correspondence between Government of India and State Governments 

42. In matters which are or have been the subject of correspondence between the Government of India and the Government of a State, no question shall be asked except as to matters of fact, and the answer shall be confined to a statement of fact. 

Speaker to decide admissibility 

43. (1) The Speaker shall decide whether a question, or a part thereof, is or is not admissible under these rules and may disallow any question, or a part thereof, when in his opinion it is an abuse of the right of questioning or is calculated to obstruct or prejudicially affect the procedure of the House or is in contravention of these rules. 

(2) Subject to the provisions of rule 38, the Speaker may direct that a question be placed on the list of questions for answer on a date later than that specified by a member in his notice if he is of the opinion that a longer period is necessary to decide whether the question is or is not admissible. 

Speaker to decide if a question is to be treated as starred or unstarred 

44. If in the opinion of the Speaker any question put down for oral answer is of such a nature that a written reply would be more appropriate, the Speaker may direct that such question be placed on the list of questions for written answer: 

Provided that the Speaker may, if he thinks fit, call upon the member who has given notice of a question for oral answer to state in brief his reasons for desiring an oral answer and, after considering the same, may direct that the question be included in the list of questions for written answer. 

Provided that the Speaker may, if he thinks fit, call upon the member who has given notice of a question for oral answer to state in brief his reasons for desiring an oral answer and, after considering the same, may direct that the question be included in the list of questions for written answer. 

Directions by the Speaker Lok Sabha 

10A. Besides the conditions of admissibility of questions mentioned in rule 41, a question shall be inadmissible on any of the following grounds:-- 

(i) it seeks information on matters which tend to encourage fissiparous and divisive tendencies and weaken the unity and integrity of the country; 

(ii) it relates to a matter of day-to-day administration or tends to further the interest of an individual or a few individuals; 

(iii) it relates to a matter falling primarily within the jurisdiction of the Chief Election Commissioner, C&AG, Courts and other such functionaries; 

(iv) it relates to petitions and memoranda received by Ministers which are not of public importance; 

(v) it relates to a matter under negotiation with a government of other country and its disclosure may affect the course of negotiations to the detriment of the national interests; and 

(vi) it relates to a matter within the jurisdiction of the Speaker. 

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