UP Assembly session likely to have MLAs in virtual attendance

Lucknow, June 28 (IANS) The monsoon session of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, scheduled to be held in August, could be a ‘session with a difference’. Some legislators will attend the proceedings virtually while some will mark their attendance physically with social distancing norms.

The session is to be held before August 29 when the six-month deadline ends. The last session ended on February 29 and it is mandatory for the government to convene the session before six months.

According to the Principal Secretary of state legislature, Pradip Dubey, the best option would be to follow the UK model of hybrid parliament session, where half the members would be present in House while the remaining would virtually participate from their official residences.

“The pattern will reverse on the session’s second day with those working from home required to be present in the House and the others would attend virtual proceedings. The hybrid system is the best way to fulfil the constitutional obligation,” he said.

A second option is to split the sitting arrangement with some MLAs occupying their usual seats on the first floor and the other group on the second floor from where guests witness House proceedings so that the norms of social distancing are not violated.

The Speaker, however, has to preside over the House from his chair and cannot work from home.

The final decision in this regard will be taken by the Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit in consultation with the Chief Minister and also the leader of opposition.

Dubey said that in case of a hybrid session, a technology upgrade would be required for seamless uplink of proceedings to those participating virtually.

The Speaker, meanwhile, said that he is holding meetings with senior members of the House, before taking a final decision.

The new norms for the session during the pandemic, however, will now allow opposition members to create pandemonium during virtual attendance.

The government needs to convene the Assembly session in view of the pressing need to ratify 11 ordinances passed during the lockdown period in order to uphold their legal validity.

The validity of an ordinance is of six months, if not again passed by the cabinet or approved by House.

Of 11 ordinances, a key one is related to freezing MLAs development funds.