Congress not entitled to leader of opposition post in Lok Sabha: Attorney General
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
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.