Lok Sabha may convene in July with social distancing norms

Vikash Aiyappa

New Delhi, June 02: The Lok Sabha is likely to convene in July at the Central Hall. The July session is likely to see the Lok Sabha vacating its changer for Rajya Sabha and moving its proceedings to the Central Hall.

This would help to spread out sitting arrangements in view of the social distancing norms.

The Central Hall which has a sitting capacity of 800 can accommodate 543 members of the Lok Sabha, while adhering to social distancing norms. A similar exercise is proposed to be achieved by shifting the sitting of the Rajya Sabha to a bigger chamber of the lower house.

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These points were discussed in a meeting on Monday between Rajya Sabha chairman, Venkaiah Naidu and Speaker Om Birla. During the meeting, the two presiding officers also discussed the possibility of holding virtual sessions of Parliament. This would mean allowing the MPs to take part in the proceedings from wherever they are.

In a letter to Birla, BJD leader Bhartuhari Mahtab spoke about the 23 nations where virtual meetings of the parliament and parliamentary committees were being held. He also urged the Speaker to undo confidentiality clauses that were cited to disallow House Committee meetings in India since the lockdown was announced.

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During the meeting, Naidu and Birla noted that there was no requirement of maintaining confidentiality of the proceedings of both Houses, which are telecast live. The Chairmen of various committees of Parliament urged the presiding officers to grant permission to hold virtual meetings in the light of the travel restrictions due to the lockdown.

Both Naidu and Birla suggested that the chairmen of the various committees to convene regular meetings. It was further suggested that they should convene the meetings after ascertaining whether the MPs would be able to attend the same.

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