Any Member may address a question to the Government on the work of the Government, and either seeking information on such matter or asking for official action with regard to it.
A question shall specify whether an oral or a written reply is required.
23. Question Time
Questions may be asked at any meeting except a meeting at which the Chief Executive delivers a Policy Address to the Council.
(L.N. 46 of 2013; L.N. 237 of 2021)
With the exception of questions asked under Rule 24(4) (Notice of Questions), not more than 22 questions of which notice has been given may be asked at any one meeting and the questions shall be counted by the Clerk in the manner recommended by the House Committee and agreed by the President. (L.N. 46 of 2013)
Where, in the opinion of the President, there will be no debate on a motion not intended to have legislative effect at a meeting, no more than 10 questions shall require an oral reply. Where, in the opinion of the President, there will be such a debate, no more than 6 questions shall require an oral reply. The questions shall be counted by the Clerk in the manner recommended by the House Committee and agreed by the President. (L.N. 228 of 2000)
The House Committee may recommend to the President that in respect of a particular meeting no question requiring an oral reply should be asked; and if the President accepts such recommendation no such question shall be asked at that meeting, save that the President may permit urgent questions under the provisions of Rule 24(4) (Notice of Questions).
24. Notice of Questions
A question shall not be asked without notice except as provided in subrule (4).
A Member shall give notice of a question by delivering to the office of the Clerk, not later than 7 clear days before the meeting at which an answer is required from the Government, a copy thereof signed by the Member; provided that for questions requiring an answer at the second meeting of the first session of a term the period of notice shall not be less than 4 clear days.
A Member may not ask more than two questions of which notice has been given at any one meeting and not more than one of those questions shall require an oral reply. (L.N. 15 of 2006)
Notwithstanding the provision in subrule (3), the President may, if in his opinion an additional question is an important one of public concern, allow a Member to ask that additional question.
(L.N. 15 of 2006)
If a Member asks the permission of the President to ask a question without notice on the ground that it is of an urgent character and relates to a matter of public importance, the President may permit the question to be asked without notice, if he is satisfied that it is of that nature and that sufficient private notice of the question has been or is to be given by the Member concerned to the Government to enable the question to be answered.
The reference to "questions" in subrule (3) shall not include a question asked under Rule 26(6) or (6A) (Asking and Answering of Questions). (L.N. 15 of 2006)
25. Contents of Questions
A question shall conform to the following rules:
A question shall not include the names of persons, or statements which are not strictly necessary to make the question intelligible.
A question shall not contain a statement which the Member who asks the question is not prepared to substantiate.
A question shall not contain arguments, inferences, opinions, imputations or epithets, or tendentious, ironical or offensive expressions.
A question shall not contain independent questions or be so complex that it cannot reasonably be answered as a single question.
(Repealed L.N. 228 of 2000)
A question shall not seek information about a matter which is of its nature secret.
A question shall not reflect on the decision of a court of law or be so drafted as to be likely to prejudice a case pending in a court of law.
A question shall not be asked for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion, the solution of an abstract legal question, or the answer to a hypothetical proposition.
A question shall not be asked whether statements in the press or of private individuals or private concerns are accurate.
A question shall not be asked about the character or conduct of any person mentioned in Rule 41(7) (Contents of Speeches) and a question shall not be asked about the character or conduct of any other person except in his official or public capacity.
A question shall not be asked seeking information which can be found in accessible documents or ordinary works of reference.
A question which has been fully answered shall not be asked again during the same session.
If the President is of the opinion that a question of which a Member has given notice to the Clerk or which a Member has sought to ask without notice infringes any of the provisions of Rule 22 (Nature of Questions) or of this Rule, he may direct –
that it be placed on the Agenda of the Council with such alterations as he may direct; or
in the case of a question which a Member has sought to ask without notice, that it may be so asked with such alterations as he may direct; or
that the Member concerned be informed that the question is out of order.
If the President is of the opinion that the subject matter of a question or any part thereof notice of which is given under Rule 24(2) (Notice of Questions) is substantially the same as that of any matter –
raised in another question notice of which has been given earlier for the same Council meeting; or
raised in a motion, or a bill, notice of which has been given earlier for a specific Council meeting; or
being considered by a standing committee or a select committee, or a committee authorized by the Council to conduct an inquiry into that matter,
the President may direct that the Member be informed that the question or the part thereof is out of order.
(L.N. 228 of 2000)
26. Asking and Answering of Questions
Every question in respect of which a Member has given due notice under the provisions of Rule 24 (Notice of Questions) and which complies with the provisions of Rule 25 (Contents of Questions) shall be put on the Agenda for the meeting at which the Member has stated that he wishes to ask it.
The questions to be asked at each meeting shall, subject to the provisions of Rule 23 (Question Time), be placed on the Agenda by the Clerk in the order in which notice of them was received by him, and when a Member has given notice of several questions at the same time in the order indicated by the Member.
When each question is reached on the Agenda the President shall, except in the case of a question for which a written answer has been sought, call on the Member in whose name the question stands. The Member called shall then rise in his place and read out the question set out on the Agenda and the designated public officer who is to answer it shall give his reply. (L.N. 47 of 2021)
After an answer has been given to a question supplementary questions may be put by any Member when called upon by the President for the purpose of elucidating that answer, but the President shall refuse to allow a supplementary question to be answered, if in his opinion it introduces matter which is not related to the original question or answer or which infringes any of the provisions of Rule 22 (Nature of Questions) or Rule 25 (Contents of Questions).
A Member shall not address the Council on a question and a question shall not be made a pretext for a debate.
If a Member is not present to ask his question when that question is reached on the Agenda, the question may with his consent be asked by another Member. (L.N. 15 of 2006)
If the President is satisfied that a Member is not present to ask his question and no other Member present has the consent of the Member to ask the question under subrule (6), the President shall call upon the chairman of the House Committee to ask the question.
(L.N. 15 of 2006)
In subrule (6A), "the chairman of the House Committee" shall mean –
"the deputy chairman of the House Committee" if the chairman of the House Committee is not present; or
"the Member present who has the highest precedence in the order of precedence of Members as determined in accordance with Rule 1A (Precedence of Members)" if both the chairman and deputy chairman of the House Committee are not present.
(L.N. 15 of 2006)
In the case of a question for which a written answer has been sought, or in the case of a supplementary question for which a written answer has been offered, a written answer shall be supplied to each Member and shall be printed in the Official Record.
No question of which notice has been given may be withdrawn, except –
where the question is a question for which a written answer has been sought, the Member who has given notice of such question may withdraw it by giving notice to the Clerk not less than one and a half hours before the meeting at which the question is to be asked; or
where a Member is called by the President to ask his question under subrule (3), he may, with leave of the Council, withdraw the question before the question is asked if there is no dissenting voice, and no debate may arise on the withdrawal of the question.
(L.N. 15 of 2006)
27. Meeting under Rule 8
This Part (other than Rule 25 (Contents of Questions)) does not apply to questions put to the Chief Executive under Rule 8
(Attendance of the Chief Executive).