New Delhi: A day after Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) introduced a new military-like uniform for its marshals, Vice President and House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said the Secretariat will review the design in light of the objections raised by the Opposition and army officials.
At the historic 250th session of the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the marshals were seen wearing a navy blue uniform in place of ‘bandhgalas’ (Indian evening suits) with turbans. The new uniforms resembled that of the armed forces.
Naidu said that he received some observations from politicians as well as “well-meaning people”. “So I have decided to ask Rajya Sabha Secretariat to revisit the issue and come to a decision,” he said on Tuesday.
The new uniforms for the marshals, finalised after consultation with the prestigious National Institute of Design (NID), had shoulder insignias and gold buttons. The peaked cap was similar to the one worn by army officers of the rank of Brigadier and above.
According to sources in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, two sets of uniforms have been designed for summer and winter seasons. In summers, the marshals will adorn a similar military uniform in white colour.
Former Army chief Ved Malik immediately objected to the new uniform of the marshals. He said the new uniform was “illegal and a security hazard.”
Tagging Naidu and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a tweet, Malik said, “Copying and wearing of military uniforms by non-military personnel is illegal and a security hazard. I hope Vice President Secretariat, Rajya Sabha and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will take early action.”
Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia (retired) also voiced concern over the resemblance of the new uniform of Rajya Sabha marshals to the military uniform.
“Why do organisations, private and government, and now the respected Rajya Sabha want similarity in attire with armed forces without any consideration for the dignity of soldiers? Is it because the public holds them in the highest esteem? Legal provisions needed to respect uniform,” he tweeted.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh too questioned the design of the new uniform of the marshals.
“It seems martial law has been imposed in the Rajya Sabha. It is a serious matter. We would keep raising the issue till it is resolved,” Ramesh said.
Defence analysts have described the change in the uniform of Rajya Sabha marshals as “bizarre.”
Major General (retired) and defence analyst GD Bakshi said the concerned authorities should be held responsible for the “irresponsible design” of the uniform.
“They should have consulted the armed forces before deciding on the uniform. The uniform has a peaked cap. Everywhere in the world, it is only worn by senior officers. To give it to the ranks of Marshals is to insult the armed forces, is to demean the uniform of armed forces,” Bakshi said.
Defence analyst Vijay Chaturvedi said a military uniform should not have any place in the Parliament.
“The role of marshals 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. How can they wear a uniform which makes them look like a military officer,” Chaturvedi told Gulf News.
He informed that the uniform of the marshals was changed in order to give them an identity distinct from the watch and ward staff.
“Generally, marshals are confused with the other staff who are there on the floor of the House. But giving such uniform to marshals was not a way to give them a distinct identity. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat should rectify the mistake at the earliest,” Chaturvedi added.