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Denied Leader of Opposition post, Mallikarjun Kharge finds place in panel headed by PM Modi

PTI 04 Nov 2014, 11:24:17 AM IST
PTI

New Delhi: Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has reportedly been inducted into the three-member selection committee which will select the Chief Information Commissioner.

As per file notings, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who heads the panel, has nominated Defence Minister Arun Jaitely, besides Mr Kharge, to the committee.

The decision to include Mr Kharge has reportedly been taken on the advice of the Law Ministry as there was lack of clarity on the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha.

The Right To Information or RTI Act requires that selection of the Chief Information Commissioner be done by a three-member panel comprising the Prime Minister, who shall be the Chairperson of the committee, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

"For the purposes of removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that where the Leader of Opposition in the House of the People has not been recognised as such, the Leader of the single largest group in opposition of the Government in the House of the People shall be deemed to be the Leader of Opposition," the Act says.

The file notings accessed by activist Commodore (Retired) Lokesh Batra show that the Lok Sabha Secretariat had conveyed to the Department of Personnel & Training on June 19, 2014, that "as on date, there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha. Indian National Congress with a strength of 44 members is, however, the single largest party in opposition to the Government in Lok Sabha".

"As per the information received from the party, Mallikarjun Kharge is the Leader of Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha which is the single largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha."