The Military-like uniform for marshals in the Rajya Sabha, which debuted on the first day of the winter session of parliament on Monday drew criticism for copying the defence forces after which it is now being reconsidered.
Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that he has asked his secretariat to revisit the uniforms. According to NDTV, the uniforms were navy blue, with shoulder insignias, gold buttons and gold aiguillette ornamental braided cord worn on army or academic uniforms. The peaked cap was like those worn by Army officers of the rank of Brigadier and above. Earlier, the marshals wore white bandhgalas with a safa.
Retired army officers including former army chief, General VP Malik called the change “illegal and a security hazard.” The opinion was echoed by Union Minister VK Singh, a retired general of the Indian Army.
Copying and wearing of military uniforms by non military personnel is illegal and a security hazard. I hope @VPSecretariat, @RajyaSabha & @rajnathsingh ji will take early action. https://t.co/pBAA26vgcS
— Vedmalik (@Vedmalik1) November 18, 2019
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh quipped whether “martial law” has been imposed in the Rajya Sabha to which Naidu responded, “Don’t raise insignificant queries at such a significant hour.”
In the Lok Sabha, marshals are summoned to maintain order or remove uncooperative members, the function of their Rajya Sabha counterparts is mostly ceremonial. They have to march before the chairman or the presiding officer of the house at the beginning of the proceedings. They also help with getting documents, removing them or arranging them. It is speculated the change of uniform was made for Rajya Sabha marshals to have a distinct identity, separate from watch and ward staff in parliament. The uniforms’ designs were finalised after consulting the National Institute of Design, according to News18 quoting unidentified officials in the Rajya Sabha.