LEADER OF OPPOSITION IN THE LOK SABHA (Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     27th June 2024        
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Context: Rae Bareli MP has been appointed as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, filling a position that remained vacant for 10 years due to no party meeting the practice-based requirement of holding a tenth of the House's strength.

Responsibilities

  • The main duty of the Leader of Opposition is to serve as the voice of the opposition in the House. 
  • The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha “is considered as a shadow Prime Minister with a shadow Cabinet, ready to take over the administration if the Government resigns or is defeated on the floor of the House”.
  • Since the parliamentary system is based on “mutual forbearance”, the Leader of Opposition lets the Prime Minister govern and is, in turn, permitted to oppose. 
  • “His/her proactive role in facilitating smooth functioning of the business of the House is as important as that of the Government.”

Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha

  • About: It was officially described in The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.
  • Definition: Leader of Opposition as a “member of the Council of States or the House of the People, as the case may be, who is, for the time being, the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognised as such by the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the House of the People”.
  • Recognition in Lok Sabha: The leader of the largest opposition party having not less than one-tenth seats of the total strength of the Lok Sabha is recognised as the Leader of the Opposition.
  • Membership: He will be a member of crucial committees such as Public Accounts (Chairman), Public Undertakings, Estimates and also a member of several Joint Parliamentary Committees.
  • Role in Selection Committees: He is entitled to be a member of various selection committees responsible for appointing heads of statutory bodies like the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission, the CBI, the NHRC, and the Lokpal.
  • Statutory Recognition: The leader of Opposition in both the Houses were accorded statutory recognition under the Salaries and Allowances of Leader of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 and are entitled to the salary, allowances and other facilities equivalent to that of a cabinet minister.
  • Constitutional Mention: The office of the Leader of the Opposition is not mentioned in the Constitution.
Samadhaan