After the uniform of the Rajya Sabha staff was changed to military-style outfit, it led to an outrage among retired officers who sought an immediate action.
On the first day of the winter session, the marshals, who stood on either side of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu sported a different uniform. Customarily, two marshals flank the Rajya Sabha presiding officer and assist the chair in organising the desk and bringing up order papers.
The new uniform has an elaborately-adorned cap replacing the traditional Indian attire paired with a turban. The peak-cap sported an aiguillette, an ornamental braided cord with decorative metal tips which is worn only by senior military officers and the Indian police service. The new uniform has shoulder epaulets with stripes like those used by the IAF and Navy to denote ranks of officers. There is even a ‘Laynard’ – an across the shoulder loop.
Former Chief of the Army Gen VP Malik (retd) tweeted, “Copying and wearing of military uniforms by non- military personnel is illegal and a security hazard”. He said he hoped the Vice-President, the Rajya Sabha and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will take early action.
Former Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd) questioned: “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 highest esteem? Legal provisions needed to respect uniform”.
Earlier in the morning, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh objected to the military-like uniform and asked if a ‘marshal law’ was imposed. Dismissing the objection, Naidu said, "Don't raise insignificant queries at such a significant hour."
According to sources, the design of the uniform was finalised after consultation with the National Institute of Design.
Two sets of uniforms have been designed according to the winter and summer seasons. In summers, the marshals will be seen in a similar military uniform in white colour.
The new uniform will be worn by the four marshals in the House as and when they are on duty.
Sources said the need for changing the uniform of the marshals was felt about six months ago in order to give them an identity distinct from the watch and ward staff.