The guardian of the country's second highest constitutional post, vice president Hamid Ansari, on Monday offered himself for frisking even as a Parliamentary Committee on Security decided against asking MPs to go under scanners to prevent the entry of "harmful/life threatening" material into the complex in view of an MP bringing and using pepper spray in the House last week.
Everyone, other than MPs, entering the Parliament Complex is frisked and their bags checked in a scanner. On February 13, Congress member in the Lok Sabha L Rajagopal spraying pepper in the House to scuttle the introduction of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in the House. Despite the fact that an MP had violated rules, they continue to enter the Parliament Complex without frisking even as more security personnel have been pressed into service to frisk journalists, who are now being frisked even while entering the Press Gallery.
A 10-member Committee met on Monday to deliberate the security of the House and decided not to go ahead with the recommendations of frisking. The meeting called by Speaker Meira Kumar decided to leave the issue for the next Lok Sabha as the term of the current House ends in May.
Insiders said that some MPs had argued that there is no harm in being frisked at the Parliament Complex when they already go through a similar exercise at airports. Many others opposed the move while some others came up with a middle ground that instead of "obstructive" physical frisking, MPs and their belongings be scanned using X-Ray and millimeter wave technology.
The ones to oppose, however, said that doing so would affect the dignity of MPs and will violate their privacy as X-Ray machines show the "body contours" of the person being scanned.
On the other hand, Ansari, who is also Chairman of Rajya Sabha, immediately ordered the installation of a metal detector in front of his Parliament office and wondered why he is exempt from the usual checks that all others are subjected to.