SC refuses to quash 10 pc rule for LoP

SC refuses to quash 10 pc rule for LoP

SC refuses to quash 10 pc rule for LoP

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to act on a plea seeking quashing of first Lok Sabha Speaker G V Mavalankar’s 10 per cent rule used for granting Leader of Opposition status.

According to the Mavalankar’s rule, settled in 1952, a party must have at least 10 per cent of the strength of the House to be designated as a parliamentary party and the leader of the largest such party in the opposition ranks could be designated as Leader of the Opposition.

A bench presided by Chief Justice R M Lodha said that the rule was not a statutory provision and further a Speaker's statement, procedure or decision evolved to run the House was outside the purview of judicial review.

Taking up the PIL filed by advocate M L Sharma, the court said, “A ruling given by Speaker in the House is not amenable to judicial review. Under Article 32 (writ jurisdiction of the Constitution) we are not sitting here to decide political issues.”

As Sharma said the ruling was not notified, the court, then, asked him if the correctness of such an order by Speaker could be judicially reviewed.

The bench, also comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R F Nariman, did not entertain an argument that the ruling required to be quashed since Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had given his opinion to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that Mavalankar's rule prescribed the correct procedure and she could deny Congress the LoP status.

Sharma claimed that Mavalankar's ruling was not the correct order since it was not notified and gazetted. He submitted that the question of the Leader of the Opposition was to be read with the provision of the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.

The Congress party which got 44 seats, the lowest ever strength in the Lok Sabha, relied upon the Act, which stated that the largest opposition party would get the LoP post.