Singhvi to move court if Cong denied oppn leader post

Singhvi to move court if Cong denied oppn leader post

After facing a defeat in the general elections, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi is now keen on moving the Supreme Court to help the party stake claim for the Leader of the Opposition post in the Lok Sabha.

In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Congress managed to win 52 seats— two short of the 10% seats of the sanctioned strength of the House—thus denying the party a claim to the Leader of the Opposition post that enjoys the rank of the Cabinet Minister.

Singhvi said he planned to move Supreme Court, in his personal capacity and not as a Congress leader, if the new Speaker denied the party the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

“The leader of the opposition in the houses of Indian parliament is a statutory post. This post is defined in the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 as simply the leader of the numerically biggest party in opposition to the government and recognised as such by the speaker/chairman,” Singhvi contended.

He argued that the 10% criteria was not mentioned in any law and had its roots only in Parliamentary convention.

Congress, which had won 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was denied the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan argued that the party had failed to win 10% of the seats of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.

The first Lok Sabha Speaker G V Mavalankar had ruled that for an opposition party to have its leader recognised as the Leader of the Opposition, it must have a minimum of 10% seats of the sanctioned strength of the House.

In 1985, the then-Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar had denied the Leader of the Opposition post to TDP, which had emerged as the single largest party in opposition winning 30 seats in an election that was swept by the Congress which had won 426 seats.

Singhvi insisted that he was planning to move court in his personal capacity and not as a Congress functionary.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had said last week that the party would not stake claim for the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha as it did not have the requisite 10% seats of the sanctioned strength of the House.

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