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SC seeks Centre’s opinion on plea seeking leader of largest oppn party in appointments committee

A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul issued notices on the plea filed by NGO Youth For Equality, which has also challenged the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act mandating prior sanction for initiating probe against government officials.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 11, 2018 6:13:43 am
Supreme Court orders status quo on mosque in Allahabad High Court complex Supreme Court. (File photo)

The Supreme Court Monday sought the Centre’s views on a petition which demanded that the leader of opposition in the committee for appointments to high offices — such as CBI Director, Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Chief Information Commissioner and Lokpal — may be read as leader of the single largest opposition party in Parliament.

A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul issued notices on the plea filed by NGO Youth For Equality, which has also challenged the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act mandating prior sanction for initiating probe against government officials.

While the plea also wanted the court to issue a direction for unanimous vote of the committee in these appointments, the bench refused to accept this and decided to restrict itself to the other two issues.

Appearing for the NGO, Advocate Gopal Sankaranaryanan contended that the amendment in the anti-graft law was discriminatory, manifestly arbitrary and ultra vires of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

On its demand that requirement for the leader of the opposition in the appointment committee should be read as leader of the single largest party opposition party, the plea said that in cases where the leader of the opposition is not explicitly recognised, they would be merely called upon as “invitee, thereby subverting the statutory intent”.

According to Parliament rules, a party would need minimum 10 per cent of the total strength in the House for one of its members to be the leader of opposition. The Congress is the single largest party but does not have the numbers for a leader of the opposition.

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