A week before India went into complete lockdown in an attempt to control the coronavirus pandemic, a few members of Rajya Sabha were asked to remove face masks that they wore as a precaution against the disease. A video of the Rajya Sabha Chairman, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, telling the members to “go out and remove the masks” on March 18 is being circulated on social media.
Naidu said, “No masks are allowed inside the House...You all are senior members, you know the rules and regulations about the conduct of the House...Otherwise, you know what I will do.”
Here are two excerpts from the official transcript of the day’s proceedings:
MR CHAIRMAN: No masks are allowed inside the House. Please remove; all the Members, please. You are all senior Members and you know the rules, regulations about the conduct of the House. Please. Otherwise, you know what I will do.
MR CHAIRMAN: Members, I have already made an appeal that the Members who are wearing masks, may please go and remove it. Otherwise, it is difficult to conduct the House. And, then people will start doing other things also. ...(Interruptions)...