A day after the Supreme Court decided to interpret the provision of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Saturday her denying LoP's post to the Congress was based on rules and tradition and that the apex court had made no observation against her.
“The Supreme Court has questioned the Centre on the issue of Lokpal's appointment in the absence of LoP and the attorney general will inform the court about the government's stand. It has made no observation against the Speaker,” she told reporters.
She defended her decision of not according LoP's status to the leader of the Congress party in the House for want of numbers. “I have taken the decision after studying the rules and traditions and after taking experts' opinion on the issue. No opposition party has more than 55. Till date, the rule that a party should have a minimum of 10% seats in the House (for being accorded the status of LoP) has not changed,” she said.
In any case, Mahajan said, the Opposition exists in the Lok Sabha and is doing its work properly except for the fact that there is no Leader of Opposition.The Speaker also said in 1980 and 1984 there was no Leader of Opposition in the House because no party had the required strength.
In a key development, the Supreme Court had on Friday decided to go into the issue of interpreting the provision of LoP in Lok Sabha in the matter of selection of statutory bodies when there is no recognised LoP. Asking the government to make its stand clear within two weeks, a bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha had emphasised the importance of the post.