a question addressed by a deputy of a representative state institution to a body of state administration or an official on issues relating to their activities. The response to the inquiry may serve as a subject for discussion and, if necessary, for the adoption of a decision by the representative body.
In the USSR and other socialist countries, deputy inquiry is one of the ways in which a representative body supervises the activities of accountable state bodies. A deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR has the right of inquiry of the government or of a ministry of the USSR, either of which is obligated in a set amount of time to provide an oral or written response to one of the chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. An analogous system exists in the supreme Soviets of the Union and autonomous republics. A deputy of a local soviet may make any inquiries of the executive committee of the soviet or of an official on any issues associated with his activities as a deputy. The response to such a deputy inquiry must be given at the next session of the soviet.
In bourgeois states deputy inquiry (interpellation) is frequently used by deputies who are representatives of opposition parties. However, the government and ministers frequently avoid making responses on the essence of the deputy inquiries. Nevertheless, deputy inquiry is of definite importance even under bourgeois democracy. Well-known cases of passage by parliament of votes of no confidence in individual ministers and even in the government as a whole have been initiated as a result of discussion of deputy inquiries.