Delhi HC Refuses Urgent Hearing To Petition Seeking Directions To Appoint Leader Of Opposition In Lok Sabha

Delhi HC Refuses Urgent Hearing To Petition Seeking Directions To Appoint Leader Of Opposition In Lok Sabha

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to grant urgent hearing to a petition seeking directions to appoint Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

The vacation bench of Justices Jyoti Singh and Manoj Ohri directed the listing of the matter on July 8, after observing that there was no urgency in the case.

The petition filed by Advocates Manmohan Singh Narula and Sishmita Kumari highlights that the Speaker has not appointed the leader of single largest party in opposition as the Leader of Opposition.

Although Indian National Congress, the single largest party in opposition, has declared Murshidabad MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as their leader in Lok Sabha, the newly appointed Speaker Om Birla has not appointed him as the Leader of Opposition, states the petition.

The petition refers to Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, which defines Leader of Opposition as the "the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People".

It is mentioned that since Congress with 52 MPs does not have 10% seats in the Lok Sabha, it is not given the post of Leader of Opposition. This 10% rule is not recognized by statute, and there is no mention of it in the the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, says the petition.

The example of Delhi Assembly giving BJP the Leader of Opposition post despite it having three seats in a 70 member house is cited in the petition.

The Leader of Opposition is a key functionary in parliamentary democracy, and has statutory roles to perform in the appointments of CVC, CBI Director, Lok Pal etc.

"The will / mandate given to the opposition party shall be respected and the Statutory Position of Leader of Opposition has to be allocated to the leader of the largest opposition party", reads the petition, which seeks framing of policy for the appointment of Opposition Leader.