New Delhi: The Delhi High court on Wednesday deferred to October 15 the hearing on a PIL seeking a direction to the Speaker to appoint Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha. "The Supreme Court is already hearing this matter. We will hear after the apex court hears it," the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said.
The order came after the court was informed that a similar plea is to be heard by the apex court on September 9. When the lawyer persisted and sought a hearing, the bench said "we have already dismissed a similar petition." Advocate Imran Ali, who has filed the plea in his personal capacity, has also sought quashing of the statement of first Speaker of the Lok Sabha, which had ruled that a party needs 10 per cent member strength to be the main opposition party.
"No illegality can be perpetuated on the ground of precedents when law of the land is clear", the petition said, adding that the Speaker should strengthen the institution in appointing the LoP. The PIL said that the issue of appointment of LoP is to be read with the provision of the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.
The apex court had, however, earlier agreed to interpret Leader of Opposition (LoP) provision for the purpose of appointment of Lokpal in which the LoP is a selection committee member and asked the Centre to make its stand clear within two weeks, saying the legislation cannot be put in "cold storage".
Congress, as the second largest party in the Lok Sabha with 44 seats, has been making a strong bid for the LoP post. Ruling BJP has opposed it saying Congress does not have the requisite 10 per cent seats (55 seats) to stake claim and questioned why Congress did not give the LoP status previous seven times when it was in power.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has rejected Congress' demand for being accorded the status of Leader of Opposition.