Following criticism from various quarters, including a former Army chief, the uniform of Rajya Sabha marshals is set to change again. It is not clear whether it will be a completely new uniform or the present one will see some changes, but officials have ruled out the option of marshals returning to their old outfit.
The uniform of half-a-dozen marshals, who assist Presiding Officers of the Upper House in conducting proceedings, was changed at the start of the Winter Session. From safari suit and turban in summer and dark bandhgalas in winter, the uniform was changed to a blue suit with a peaked cap.
The change drew criticism from several quarters, including former Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik. “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,” tweeted the former Army chief. On Wednesday, during the Question Hour, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said, “Sir, I have been trying to draw the attention, but I think the cap is obstructing the vision. You are not able to see my hand.”
After the new uniform drew criticism, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had announced that it will be reviewed.
“The similarity to a military outfit is incidental, it is blue, not green. At the all-party meeting on Sunday when it was first worn, it was much appreciated. The uniform was basically designed drawing inspiration from the attire of staff in state Assemblies. However, now it will be redone. The caps have already been dispensed with. There is no question of going back to the old uniform because the marshals were not happy with it. We have initiated the process for a new uniform. Till then, the current one will be in use,” said a source.
According to sources in Rajya Sabha secretariat, the uniform was changed after a longstanding demand of marshals who resented the fact that despite being gazetted officers, there was nothing in their uniform to distinguish them from chamber attendants, who are lower-ranked officials. The turban was also thought to be cumbersome, said the sources.