Leader of the Opposition : India
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The minimum number of seats required
Worst ever show leaves Congres at the mercy of Speaker to get opposition leader status
Vishwa Mohan,TNN | May 16, 2014 The Times of India
The opinion of the opposition leader is mandatorily required while making key appointments in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Lokpal and CBI.
Eminent constitutional expert and former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Subhash C Kashyap told The Times of India that for a party leader to qualify to be the opposition leader that party should have won a minimum 10% (54) of the Lok Sabha seats.
"The opposition leader qualifies to get perks, salaries and allowances that are the same as a Cabinet minister under the existing rule," Kashyap said.
Different panels require to be represented by leader of opposition of the Lok Sabha. Kashyap said the [national] government [elected in 2014: when no party other than the ruling party had won the minimum 10% (54) of the Lok Sabha seats] will have to first change the rules by making required amendments for the provisions of such search panels.
"If the government wishes it can keep that position in the panel vacant and go ahead with the appointments by changing the rules," he said — an indication that the government would have a free run in such appointments if it wishes to keep the position vacant.
When the largest opposition party has at least 30 members
Though the leader of the largest opposition party, irrespective of the number, can get such status for representing those search panels, it will entirely depend on the speaker of the House under a rule for recognizing a parliamentary group which allows him or her to recognize "an association of members to form a parliamentary group" if it will have a minimum strength of 30 members.
Accordingly, P Upendra of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was the leader of opposition during 1984-89. The TDP had then only bagged 30 seats 3 less than the 10% of the total strength — but it was the largest political party in the opposition.
The lower house of the Parliament did not have a leader of the opposition during 1952-1977. After the loss of Congres in 1977 elections post-emergency, the Lok Sabha had got its first leader of the opposition that year under the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.
As per the Act, "Leader of the Opposition", in either Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha, may be, a person who is, for the time being, the leader in that house of the party in opposition having the greatest numerical strength and recognized as such by the chairman of the upper house or the Speaker of the lower house, as the case may be.
Where there are two or more parties in opposition having the same numerical strength, the chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be, will have to recognize any one of the leaders of such parties as the "Leader of the Opposition" and such recognition will be final and conclusive.