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Can a Common Man visit Parliament of India?

7 min read
Indian Parliament law insider

By Saurav Yadav

Published on: February 12, 2024 at 16:53 IST

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the country, consisting of two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). It is responsible for making laws, overseeing the functioning of the government, and representing the interests of the people. The President of India is an integral part of the Parliament and gives assent to bills passed by both houses before they become law.

The question Whether a common man has the right to visit the law-making body of the country that is Parliament of the India, that will be focal point of discussion in this article.

In normal circumstances, a common citizen of India can visit the Parliament of India. The Parliament House is located in New Delhi, and there are provisions for guided tours for the public to witness the architectural and historical significance of the building.

Allowing a common man to visit the Parliament of India offers several significant benefits:

  • Transparency and Accountability: Letting regular people visit Parliament helps make sure that the government is being open and honest. When citizens can see what’s happening in Parliament, it makes politicians more responsible because they know they’re being watched.
  • Education and Awareness: Visiting Parliament is a chance for people to learn about how laws are made and how the government works. It helps them understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens and stay informed about important issues.
  • Democratic Participation: When the public can see what’s going on in Parliament, it encourages them to get involved in the democratic process. They can watch debates, see how decisions are made, and then make informed choices when it’s time to vote.
  • Symbol of Inclusivity: Opening up Parliament to everyone shows that democracy is for everyone. It sends a message that Parliament belongs to the people and helps people feel proud of their country’s democratic values.
  • Inspiration and Aspiration: Visiting Parliament can inspire people, especially young people, to get more involved in their communities and aspire to become leaders themselves. It shows them that anyone can make a difference and encourages them to work towards a better future for everyone.

In essence, allowing a common man to visit the Parliament of India strengthens democracy by promoting transparency, education, democratic participation, inclusivity, and inspiration among citizens. It is a vital step towards building a more informed, engaged, and empowered society.

The Lok Sabha handbook for members outlines guidelines for obtaining visitor passes, requiring MPs to confirm their personal acquaintance with guests and take full responsibility for them. These directives gained attention after a security breach in Parliament, where two individuals entered the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery.

As per the ‘handbook for Lok Sabha members’, MPs must complete an application form for visitors, including details like the visitor’s name, age, nationality, and occupation. For foreigners, passport details are required. Housewives should provide their husband’s occupation details. The form also asks for the visitor’s permanent address, state, and full Delhi address.

The handbook for Lok Sabha members outlines that when applying for visitor passes, MPs must provide a certificate affirming their personal acquaintance with the guest and assuming full responsibility for them. This ensures that MPs vouch for the visitors they sponsor, taking accountability for their conduct while inside the Parliament premises.

 So, Yes, a common man can visit the Parliament of India under certain conditions and procedures.

Visitors can explore the Central Hall, the Lok Sabha (House of the People), and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) chambers, among other areas. The tours provide insights into the functioning of the Indian Parliament, its history, and the democratic process.

The Parliament of India, the epicenter of democratic governance, opens its doors to the public through specially designated areas known as Public Galleries. These galleries are situated within both the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) chambers, providing an invaluable opportunity for ordinary citizens to witness the deliberations and discussions that shape the nation.

During Parliament sessions, these Public Galleries welcome visitors from all walks of life, offering a unique vantage point to observe firsthand the democratic processes at play. It serves as a window for the common man to witness the representatives in action, gaining insights into how decisions are made on their behalf.

The process of getting a visitor pass for access to the Parliament in India can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Which Parliament House you want to visit: There are two houses of Parliament in India, the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). The procedures for obtaining a visitor pass may differ slightly for each house.
  • Who you are and the purpose of your visit: Different categories of visitors, such as Indian citizens, foreign nationals, students, journalists, and researchers, may have different requirements for obtaining a visitor pass.

For Indian citizens:

  1. Invitation from an MP: You will typically need an invitation from a Member of Parliament (MP) to visit the Parliament House. The MP will need to submit an application form on your behalf, providing your details such as full name, age, address, occupation, and purpose of visit.
  2. Security clearance: Once the application is submitted, your details will be screened for security clearance. This process may take a few days.
  3. Collect your pass: If your application is approved, you will be informed and can collect your visitor pass from the MP’s office or the designated authority at the Parliament House.

For foreign nationals:

  1. Contact the embassy: The process for foreign nationals may involve contacting the embassy of their home country in India for assistance. The embassy may be able to help you obtain the necessary documentation and clearances.
  2. Submit an application: Once you have the required documents, you will need to submit an application form to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The application form can be obtained from the MEA website or the embassy of your home country.
  3. Security clearance: Your application will be reviewed for security clearance, which may take some time.
  4. Collect your pass: If your application is approved, you will be informed and can collect your visitor pass from the MEA or the designated authority at the Parliament House.

Additional information:

  • Visitor passes are typically issued for a specific date and time. Make sure you arrive at the Parliament House on time and have your valid photo ID with you.
  • You may be required to go through security checks before entering the Parliament House.
  • Certain items, such as mobile phones, laptops, and cameras, may not be allowed inside the Parliament House. Check the specific rules before your visit.

Here are some helpful resources for obtaining more information about the process of getting a visitor pass for the Parliament House in India:

Furthermore, adherence to COVID-19 protocols is paramount, underscoring the need to wear masks properly, covering both nose and mouth, maintain a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others, especially in group settings, and follow other health and safety guidelines.

Before embarking on a visit to the Parliament building, all visitors undergo stringent security screening procedures. This involves passing through metal detectors and having their bags thoroughly checked. These measures are standard practice, implemented to uphold the safety and security of all individuals within the Parliament premises.

Timing your Visit: To make the most of your visit, it’s essential to plan your trip during Parliament sessions. The session timings and schedules are readily available on the official website of the Parliament of India. Prior to your visit, ensure to check the schedule to align your plans accordingly.

Respecting Restricted Areas: While visitors are granted access to various parts of the Parliament building, certain areas remain restricted. These include the chambers where lawmakers convene for official proceedings. Such sections are exclusively accessible to Members of Parliament (MPs) and authorized personnel. This limitation is enforced to safeguard the security and privacy of parliamentary affairs.

By adhering to these protocols, visitors can enjoy a safe and enriching experience while gaining valuable insights into the democratic processes at the heart of the Indian Parliament.

In conclusion, opening the doors of the Parliament of India to the common man is a vital aspect of democracy, symbolizing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in governance. By granting citizens access to legislative proceedings, we promote education, awareness, and democratic participation, empowering individuals to contribute meaningfully to the democratic process.

However, it’s essential to note that access to specific areas might be restricted during parliamentary sessions or due to security concerns. Additionally, visitors are usually required to obtain passes or go through a security screening process before entering the premises.

It’s advisable to check with the official website or relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information on visiting the Parliament of India and any specific guidelines or restrictions that may be in place.