In a landmark decision, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has directed various ministries to make use of gender-neutral phrases from the subsequent Parliament session.
The decision came in response to a letter written by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi seeking to change the usage of phrases such as ‘no sir’ which is commonly used in replies in the House.
In her letter dated September 8, the Maharashtra MP had mentioned that it was “concerning to observe institutional gender mainstreaming” by Parliament, which is a “temple of democracy”.
“Although this may seem like a small change, it will go a long way in giving women their due representation in the Parliamentary process,” she said.
To this letter, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat replied, “as per conventions and rules of procedure and conduct of business in Rajya Sabha, all the proceedings of the House are addressed to the Chair, and replies to Parliamentary questions being a part of proceedings are also addressed to the chairperson only. However, the ministries will be informed to furnish gender-neutral replies to the Parliamentary questions from the next session of Rajya Sabha onwards.”
Sources: The Indian Express