The denial of Leader of Opposition status to the Congress in the Lok Sabha on the ground that it does not have 10 per cent of the total strength of the House will be “illegal” and “contrary to law” and the party, if it wants, can challenge the decision in a court of law, Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said on Friday.
Speaking in his personal view and capacity, Singhvi told The Indian Express that the 1977 law that governs salaries and allowances of the Leaders of Opposition in Parliament makes no mention of the 10 per cent rule.
“I believe strongly that the denial of Leader of Opposition status is illegal and contrary to law. Leader of the Opposition is a status conferred. And status can be conferred by law. The law is the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, which specifically has the definition that the Leader of the Opposition means in either House the leader of that party having the greatest numerical strength.”
He said the Act “nowhere mentions the 10 per cent rule”. The Congress, he said, has the single largest numerical strength among the opposition parties.
Referring to the 10 per cent rule spelt out by first Lok Sabha Speaker G V Mavalankar, he said, “The Speaker had issued a direction on the executive side for the limited purpose of recognising the allotment of seats inside the House, or the time allotted to participate and speak in debates or the rooms allotted for offices in Parliament for different parties. For this purpose, he said that time will be given according to 10 per cent to the Leader of the Opposition and all other people with less than 10 per cent will be called groups.”
“The purpose of that ruling was limited to procedural things like seat, time and room allotments…” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines