NEW DELHI: Given the strong opposition from retired military personnel, the military-style uniforms of marshals is being reconsidered. Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said he has asked the Rajya Sabha secretariat to revisit the new dress code of marshals. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu added that he received some observations on the new uniform from politicians as well as other well-meaning people.
On the first day of the Winter Session of the Rajya Sabha, the marshals were seen in new uniforms that were said to resemble that of the armed forces.
The marshals wore uniforms which were navy blue, with shoulder insignias, lanyards, gold buttons and gold aiguillettes -- ornamental braided cords worn on Army or academic uniforms. The peaked cap was like those worn by Army officers of the rank of Brigadier and above. The old uniform of the marshals comprised white bandhgalas with a safa.
Reacting to the issue, Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd) said the armed forces are an apolitical organisation and such uniforms send a wrong message. “The Parliament is the temple of democracy and in a democracy, the military, even symbolically, does not participate in the democratic process. The Armed Forces have deliberately been kept away from election duties.”
"The Armed Forces have a distinct place and role in the Union of India. Their uniform represents them in the public space and should not be trivialised," said Air Vice Marshal (retd) Manmohan Bahadur. Reactions against the change in the marshals' uniform were immediate with former Army Chief General VP Malik airing his views on Twitter.
"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 General VP Malik.
The job of marshals in the Rajya Sabha is mostly ceremonial. It is at the beginning of the proceedings of the Upper House that they march before the chairman or presiding officer. Their job also includes assisting in getting documents, removing them or arranging them.