Before the December 13 security breach, how could one get into the new Parliament?

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulDec 14, 2023 | 17:17

Before the December 13 security breach, how could one get into the new Parliament?

On September 19, 2023, the proceedings in the new Parliament started with a special session. Photo: Narendra Modi

The Lok Sabha intrusion on Wednesday, December 13, where two individuals went in with smoke canisters and raised slogans disrupting the proceeding, caused alarms of a massive security breach. Following the breach, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, on the same day, banned further issuance of visitor passes to the Parliament.

The incident might have got you wondering if getting to India's top temple of democracy (as a visitor, of course) is that easy!


The two intruders, on Wednesday, came in through the same channel, but with an intention that any sane visitor wouldn't have. After they were handed over to the police after being overpowered by the MPs, a visitor pass linked to BJP's Mysore-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, was recovered.

How does one get to the Parliament, then?

  • A tongue-in-cheek answer would be, "Win an election." Or get nominated by the President of India.
  • Another would be, if you are a journalist, you could see the house's functions and the newly built building that PM Narendra Modi inaugurated in May 2023, after completing a verification process.
Different galleries in the Lok Sabha. Photo: Narendra Modi

For a citizen, there are provisions for a visitor's pass, and this is what the December 13 intruders exploited.

So, how do you get a visitor pass?

Securing a pass

  • Access to the Parliament requires an official pass, obtainable through two channels.
  • One can either be recommended by a Member of Parliament (MP) or a gazetted officer working within the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
  • Along with a recommendation letter and a valid identity card, such as a voter ID or Aadhar card, visitors can approach the Parliament reception for pass issuance.
AFC gates. Photo: Narendra Modi

Session matters

  • If the Parliament is not in session, it is easy to obtain the pass.
  • However, then, the visit is limited to a tour of the compound, lobbies and other parts, escorted by a Secretariat officer.
  • The goldmine is to see the proceedings, isn't it?
  • When in session, one is confined to a House gallery (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), for a one-hour window to see the live proceedings.
  • The visitor's gallery, like the press gallery, is a small elevated room attached to both houses, from where the proceedings could be watched.
  • It is from this gallery that the intruders jumped into the lower house.
  • The pass colour differentiates between Lok Sabha (green) and Rajya Sabha (maroon).

In some cases, the verification of the visitor is done through the local police station, before the issuance of a pass.

Constitution gallery in Parliament. Photo: Narendra Modi

Strict security

  • Visitors, upon arrival, are constantly asked to adhere to strict security rules at different steps.
  • The first step is a thorough security frisking at the gate of the Parliament complex, using metal detectors by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. This also might include a few questions regarding the purpose of the visit.
  • CRPF is India's topmost paramilitary force, under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Command centre inside Parliament. Photo: Narendra Modi
  • When in the entrance lobby, electronic gadgets, mobile phones, pens and even paper are deposited with the security.
  • The same is done again before a Secretariat staff guides the visitor into the gallery for an hour.
  • After the allotted time in the gallery is up, visitors are guided to conclude their visit with a tour of the parliamentary premises.

Adherence to all rules ensures a seamless and positive experience. However, in the event of any stupid actions or attempts to behave inappropriately, as seen in a recent incident, one may find themselves subject to UAPA.

Last updated: December 14, 2023 | 18:39
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