Delhi High Court quashes petition praying that Leader of Opposition is mandatory in Lok Sabha [Read the Order]

Delhi High Court quashes petition praying that Leader of Opposition is mandatory in Lok Sabha [Read the Order]

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