The Lower House and Upper House of the Parliament lack the required space to harbor the members of the legislating body if they all follow the social distancing norms that remain advisable to prevent the contamination from the infectious novel coronavirus. This information was communicated to Lok Sabha’s speaker, Shri Om Birla, and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu by the Secretaries-General of both the Houses in a meeting on 9th of June, 2020.

The Parliament Secretariat in a review reported that the 250 member Upper House, i.e., the Rajya Sabha can fit in only 60 Member of Parliaments if the physical distancing is maintained while the 545 members Lower House, i.e., the Lok Sabha’s hall can have a space of somewhere around hundred members. It is reported that the secretariat weighted upon shifting the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha to the hall of Lok Sabha and moving the Lok Sabha’s proceeding to the Central Hal of the Parliament which is used for the joint sittings of both the houses. An official was reported stating, “Even if the members are accommodated in the visitors’and press galleries, the total seating capacity would be much less than that required…”

Vigyan Bhavan seating capacity, which is a facility inside the Parliament used for national conferences was considered but later on discarded

The aforementioned official has been quoted adding further to his previous statement, “Another option discussed was to enable attendance in both the Houses of only those many members who can be accommodated as per the social distancing norm by drawing up lists of such members whose participation in various items of business is required on a daily basis,”

This arrangement seems to be inefficient as it is highly likely that the political parties in the Opposition would withstand such proposal which restricts the entry of members in the temple of democracy (Parliament) as the priests (the Government) perform the rituals (preparing legislations) of day to day functioning for reasons of lack of space in the House.

According to reports, the option of using webcast for the purpose of conducting virtual meetings to give way for proceedings of the Parliament’s committees has been rejected by Mr. Om Birla and Mr. Naidu as they stated that such move pertains to the amendment in the rules of the Parliament which requires consent by both the houses of the Parliament.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts