Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Leader of Opposition
What to study?
For prelims and mains: LoP- status, roles, significance and what needs to be done to strengthen the office of LoP?
Why in News? Congress, with 52 MPs, has declined to stake claim for the position of Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
Background: Any party that has 55 members can get the post as recognised as such by the speaker/chairman.
Who is the Leader of Opposition?
The LOP is leader of the largest party that has not less than one-tenth of the total strength of the house.
It is a statutory post defined in the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.
Significance of the office:
- LoP is referred to as the ‘shadow Prime Minister’.
- She/he is expected to be ready to take over if the government falls.
- The LoP also plays an important role in bringing cohesiveness and effectiveness to the opposition’s functioning in policy and legislative work.
- LoP plays a crucial role in bringing bipartisanship and neutrality to the appointments in institutions of accountability and transparency – CVC, CBI, CIC, Lokpal etc.
What reforms are needed?
There arises a problem when no party in opposition secures 55 or more seats. In such situations, the numerically largest party in the opposition should have the right to have a leader recognised as leader of the opposition by the speaker.
Besides, the 10% formulation is inconsistent with the law ‘the salary and allowances of leaders of opposition in Parliament Act, 1977’ which only says that the largest opposition party should get the post.
Sources: the Hindu.
Mains Question: What is the significance of Leader of opposition in Indian Polity? Explain in what way an effective opposition is crucial to an effective democracy?