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SC wonders how can LoP post remain vacant, Congress agrees

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today expressed shock over the Centre's decision to leave the position of Leader of Opposition vacant. The court said that it was concerned about the formation of lokpal which requires
India TV News Desk August 22, 2014 15:50 IST
India TV News Desk
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today expressed shock over the Centre's decision to leave the position of Leader of Opposition vacant. The court said that it was concerned about the formation of lokpal which requires participation of the LoP and asked the centre to explain its stand.

Reminding the government of the implications of not having an LoP, The court asked the government to explain how would they elect a Lokpal as its selection panel comprises of Prime Minister, Speaker of Lok Sabha and leader of opposition in Lok Sabha.  

The apex Court said that such an important law (Lokpal) cannot be kept in cold storage.

Congress leader Rajeev Shukla expressed his full agreement with the Supreme Court's observation.

“LoP is very important constitutional position. I think it has now become a need,” said Rajiv Shukla.

Former Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tiwari said that it is an assault on democracy to not appoint LoP. It is essential in a democracy and this post is also the essence of democracy, said Rajeev.

Congress's demand for the LoP post had been rejected by the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

"I have gone by rules and tradition," she said.

The judges of the Supreme Court seem to be thinking on the same line as the Congress party.

They said the position "conveys a voice different from the government's" and is therefore crucial.

The Centre has been given four weeks to furnish its response.

The Congress wants to project the Mallikarjun Kharge as Leader of the Opposition.

But Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that out, citing rules that a party must have at least 55 members in the House to claim the post. Congress has 44 only.

The SC made these observations while hearing a petition that questioned  government to explain the delay in appointing the nine members of the national Lokpal, under the Lokpal act passed by  Parliament in December.

Lawyer-activist and Leader of AAP Prashant Bhushan has brought the case to the Supreme Court.

The judges pointed out that by law, the committee that selects the Lokpal's members must include the Leader of the Opposition along with the Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India.   

The Lokpal's nine members are meant to include four former or serving judges.

The Supreme Court has given the Centre one month's time to come up with its response.

According to sources, the government has washed its hands off from the matter by saying that a decision on LoP has been taken by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and govt has nothing to do with this.