RS Chairman, LS Speaker explore options to conduct monsoon session of Parliament

PTI

File Photo: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla hold meeting.

File Photo: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla hold meeting.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla discussed on Monday the possibility of accommodating MPs in both the Houses during a session to ensure physical distancing among members, sources said.

Both the presiding officers inspected the chambers and galleries of both the Houses to take stock of the seating capacity when physical-distancing norms are followed.

The visit was followed by a two-hour discussion on using the chambers of both the Houses for conducting the proceedings of each House, the sources said.

The proposal was that the members of Lok Sabha would be seated in the chambers and galleries of both the Houses when it is in session and so will be the case with Rajya Sabha, the sources said.

They said the members who cannot be accommodated in the chambers and galleries of their House would be seated in the chamber and galleries of the other House.

The Rajya Sabha chamber and its galleries can accommodate 127 members ensuring physical-distancing norms, while Lok Sabha chamber and its galleries can accommodate about 290 members.

The sources say various logistical and technical issues will have to be addressed if this option were to be exercised during the monsoon session, likely next month.

These include enabling the participation of members of a House seated in the other House through audio-visual connectivity, audio facilities for members seated in galleries, simultaneous interpretation, taking vote if required, enabling live telecast of proceedings of each House and making arrangements for the media.

The secretary-generals have been asked to examine all the issues, before taking a final decision, the sources said, adding that other options are also under consideration.

Meanwhile, M Venkaiah Naidu took stock of the seating and other arrangements for administration of oath/affirmation of new members of Rajya Sabha scheduled for Wednesday.

So far, 42 of the 61 new members have confirmed their participation in the oath ceremony that will take place inside the Chamber of the Upper House.

PTI