The Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw of the Delhi High Court on January 14, 2015 delivered an order stating that, “The counsel for the petitioner being unable to satisfy us that there exists any mandate under the Constitution or under any law for appointment of a Leader of Opposition and the only reason urged for the necessity of appointment of a Leader of Opposition having been not substantiated, we are not inclined to entertain this petition. Merely because a petition is filed in public interest does not absolve the petitioner from making out a case for the same to be entertained.”
The order also noted that “petition is prefaced on newspaper report dated 20th August, 2014 to the effect that the Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha has refused to appoint / recognise any person as Leader of Opposition because no opposition party was able to secure 55 seats in the Lok Sabha.”
The petition had claimed that, “the post of Leader of Opposition received statutory recognition through the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act.” It had also claimed, “the importance of the office of Leader of Opposition goes to the fundamentals of democratic process in the society , so as to rule out any kind of arbitrariness and / or favouritism by a Ruling Part” and “though leader of opposition does not have any Veto for any process but still has been granted and recognised to have a voice towards a particular concern; various enactments have recognised the value and input of Leader of Opposition while making important policy decisions by the Government; Leader of Opposition has been empowered to participate in decision making at various levels including appointment(s) at senior level.”
However, the counsel of Petitioner did submit that “there is no law or even provision in the Constitution of India for the post of Leader of Opposition” at the same time adding, “that the post of Leader of Opposition is essential for a democracy to function”
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain submitted to the Court that even on earlier occasions, there were Lok Sabha(s) in which there was no leader of opposition.
Eventually, the submissions made by the Petitioner failed to find favour with the Court and it dismissed the Petition. However, it added, “dismissal is owing to the petitioner having been unable to make out a case and since the petition was filed in public interest, we clarify that the dismissal of this petition would not constitute a precedent in an appropriate and properly framed and argued matter, even if claiming the same reliefs.”
You may also read Delhi HC defers PIL on appointment of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha to October 15.
Read the Order here