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National
Congress not entitled to leader of opposition post in Lok Sabha: Attorney General
26-07-2014

NEW DELHI: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Friday held that the Congress cannot get the leader of opposition status in the Lok Sabha as its numbers are less than one-tenth of the total strength of parliament’s lower house.

Informed sources said that Rohatgi, in his opinion to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, said that Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress leader in the house, cannot be recognised as leader of opposition as the party’s strength was 44 while one-tenth of the total strength of the house is 55.

Sources said Rohatgi has cited in his opinion the ruling of the first Lok Sabha speaker GV Mavalankar that the minimum quorum for functioning of the house was one- tenth of its strength and the post of leader of opposition must belong to a party whose MPs match the quorum of the house.

Rohatgi also opined that there has been no leader of opposition at different times due to the strength of parties being less than 55, they added.

The Congress, however, insisted that it should be recognised as the main opposition party in the house and its leader given the status of leader of opposition.

Former union minister Manish Tewari said the AG had given an opinion and it was not binding. “The second largest party in the house needs to be recognised in a proper manner,” said Tewari. He said the jurisprudence that has evolved over the years had assigned a greater role to the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“For the sake of propriety, for the sake of constructive relationship, the status of largest party needs to be recognised by giving leader of opposition position,” he said. “We have a strong case both on merits and parliamentary conventions,” he said.