Latching on to Supreme Court’s observations on Leader of Opposition issue, Congress on Friday said it “vindicates” the party’s stand and alleged that the Speaker’s decision to deny the LoP status to it in Lok Sabha appeared “coloured by BJP’s partisan agenda”.
“The Supreme Court’s observation has actually vindicated what the Congress and the UPA have been saying through out. The decision of the Speaker was in utter disregard to law and appears to be clearly influenced and coloured by the partisan agenda of the BJP led government,” Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said soon after the Supreme Court agreed to interpret LoP provision for the purpose of appointment of Lokpal in which LoP is a selection committee member.
Emphasising the importance of the post, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said Leader of Opposition conveys the voice of a representative different from government in the House and asked the Centre to make its stand clear within two weeks, saying the legislation cannot be put in “cold storage”.
The court also observed that the issue of LoP is relevant not only in Lokpal law but also in other existing and incoming legislations.
Congress, as the second largest party in the Lok Sabha with 44 seats, has been making a strong bid for the LoP post but the ruling BJP has opposed it, saying it does not have the requisite 10 per cent seats which meant it needed 55 to stake claim.
Hitting out at the government over denial of LoP status to Congress, Sharma said that when the Congress had made a representation to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in this regard, it had hoped that she will take a fair and just view.
“However, the Speaker denied it to Congress relying on the opinion of the Attorney General, which was not worth even the piece of paper on which it was written and was influenced by partisan politics of Government,” Sharma informed.
He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue saying while he talks of taking Opposition parties along, his actions are in “direct conflict” with what he says.
“Disrespecting Opposition, disrespecting laws and insulting leaders of other parties, Chief Ministers. All this are reflective of a mindset, which is determined to undermine institutions and established conventions and norms of the Constitution. No ruling and observation of Speakers can override a law of Parliament and the law has it that the single largest Opposition party does not require any specific number in Lok Sabha to claim the LoP status. It was the right of the Congress party,” Sharma said.