The winter session of New Parliament Building is going on. Meanwhile, a major case of a lapse in the security of Parliament has come to light on Wednesday i.e. 13th December. During the proceedings in the Lok Sabha, two persons from the audience gallery entered the House and blew colored smoke. Outside the House, two people raised slogans and blew colored smoke. Due to this, the proceedings of the House were adjourned for some time.
Both the persons who reached inside the Parliament had come on a visitor pass. After the incident, the accused were caught and handed over to Delhi Police for questioning. The lapse in security of Parliament has become a big issue on the anniversary of the 2001 attack on Parliament. During the proceedings, many MPs raised the issue of visitor passes. Let us know what are the rules for the common man’s entry into Parliament. Where can common people sit? Who gets a visitor pass and how?
New Parliament Building Entry and What the Rules
What are the Rules for the Common Man’s Entry into New Parliament Building?
Entry into the Parliament House is controlled by the rules and instructions issued by the Speaker from time to time. No person can enter without a valid pass. This is done especially for the security of the Members of Parliament. Any person has to show his identity card to the security personnel deployed on security duty in the New Parliament Building complex. To strengthen the security arrangements in the New Parliament Building complex, door-frame metal detectors have been installed at various gates. Visitors accompanying Members of Parliament and former Members pass through door-frame metal detectors and are physically searched. The luggage etc. being carried by them may also be checked by the security staff.
Visitors come to New Parliament Building for Different Purposes
Visitors who come to watch the proceedings of Parliament have different purposes. Some of them come for educational purposes, others for political purposes, and still others come to watch the proceedings from the point of view of business, economy and industry, etc. Both Houses of Parliament have viewing galleries for the use of the general public. To enter this gallery, a valid card is required which is called a visitor card. For a Visitor Card, members have to apply in the prescribed form by 3 pm on the working day preceding the date of the meeting, for which Admit Card is necessary.
Printed forms are kept in the information office. For personal friends and close relatives of Members who visit Delhi for a very short period and in whose case it is not possible to apply a day in advance, Members may make a special request for the issue of a Visitor Card on the same day. These cards become valid for entry to the gallery two hours after receipt.
These are the Rules for Visitor Card Application
Under the rules, MPs can apply for a visitor card for anyone they know personally. In select cases, those who have been introduced by someone who knows them personally can apply for a visitor card. In other cases, members have to exercise extreme caution, for which members are also advised to take special care. MPs are held responsible for any untoward incident or undesirable thing happening in the galleries due to any act done by such cardholders.
Visitor Card is Available Only for One Meeting
Cards for admission to the visitors’ galleries are usually issued for one sitting and are for that sitting only. Since the capacity of the viewing gallery is also for a fixed number of persons, depending on the hour, a card is usually issued only for one hour. These cards cannot be given to any other person and are issued only if the holder adheres to the conditions given herein.
Visitor Cards are Received by MPs or Sent to their Homes
Under the present process, when the admit cards are ready, they are either handed over to the applying members or sent to their residences. If cards are distributed at the residence, members are to report receiving the cards in the messenger-book where possible and if they are not available, they usually arrange for a responsible person at the residence to do so. Members are required to give complete details as per instructions written in the application form for the Visitors Card.
Children Below 10 Years of Age Cannot Enter
Visitors’ Gallery Cards are also issued at the request of officers and employees of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariat. If they apply in the prescribed form a day in advance. Children below 10 years of age are not allowed entry into the viewing galleries.