LoP Post: Somnath Stresses Speaker’s Discretionary Powers

Published: 28th July 2014 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2014 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:  Former Lok Sabha Speaker and ex-CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee on Sunday echoed the view that the Lok Sabha Speaker could take a call on formally according the status of Leader of Opposition(LOP) despite “no clear applicable rule”, even as he insisted that a 10 per cent strength in the Upper House was needed for a party to rightfully stake the claim to the Constitutional post. “As far as I know 10 per cent of the membership of the House (is required).I think this should be left to the discretion of Speaker (Sumitra Mahajan),” he said.

And Somnath, currently on a visit here, also said the Speaker’s call to designate a member of the Opposition as LOP will help to resolve the issue of Parliament not having an LoP. “I believe for proper functioning (of the Lok Sabha), someone should be designated as LOP, which recognises the important role of the Opposition in an elected democratic setup.”

“That will also put an end to the fact that Parliament does not have an LOP, which will weaken the democratic system we have adopted,” Somnath, who presided over the 14th Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009, added.

According to him while the 10 per cent strength in the Lok Sabha was a pre-requisite for an Opposition party to get the status of LOP, he said the decision to accord the status should be left to the Speaker’s discretion when there was no party with the required strength in the House. “Therefore, I feel even if there is no clear applicable rule, the Speaker may kindly in her discretion designate a member of the House to be the LOP. Who will be designated (as LOP) should be decided by the number of members that different parties have in the House,” he said.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker’s remarks come in the wake of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s counsel to Mahajan that the Congress, which has 44 members in the Lok Sabha, is not eligible for the LoP, which is a Cabinet-rank post. Rohatgi had noted that there was no precedent since the days of the first Lok Sabha to grant the post to a party, which did not have the minimum required number of MPs.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp