Supreme Court gives Centre a month to explain why there is no LoP
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the NDA Government at the Centre to explain why there is no Leader of Opposition in Parliament, and gave the former a month's time to come up with an answer on how it proposes to select Lokpal members, if such a post remains vacant or does not exist.
The committee to select the nine members of the Lokpal is meant to include the Leader of the Opposition along with the Prime Minister and others. The apex court pointed out that the make-up of the committee is part of the law passed by Parliament that brings the Lokpal into existence.
The Congress had claimed that as the single largest opposition party, its floor leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, should be recognized 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. The Congress has 44.
Prashant Bhushan, lawyer-activist and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, has brought the matter to the Supreme Court, asking the Centre to explain the delay in deciding the members of the Lokpal.
The Lokpal's nine members are meant to include four former or serving judges.
The law that creates the Lokpal was passed by Parliament in December, after two years of stalling. The need for an ombudsman empowered to investigate corrupt government officials was championed by activist Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal in 2012 in a high-profile movement which caught the imagination of middle class India.
(Posted on 22-08-2014)