Leader of the Opposition (India)
|Leader of the Opposition of India|
Emblem of India
While the position also existed in the former Central Legislative Assembly of British India, and holders of it there included Motilal Nehru, it received statutory recognition through the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 which defines the term "Leader of the Opposition" as that member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha who, for the time being, is the Leader of that House of the Party in Opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and recognized, as such, by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. However, in order to get formal recognition, the concerned party must have at least 10% of the total strength of the House (55 seats in the Lok Sabha). If any party fails to get 10% seats in opposition, the House will not have recognized leader of the opposition. The post of Leader of the Opposition can only be awarded to the leader of a single political party and not to the leader of an alliance, even if the alliance was formed prior to the election. This means that a single party would have to meet the 10% seat criteria, not an alliance.
The Leader of the Opposition enjoys the rank of a Cabinet Minister. In cases where there is no officially recognized Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the single largest group in opposition will discharge the role of leader of opposition. However, leader of the largest group in does not receive the salaries and allowances that an officially recognized one would enjoy.
This is the most accepted or most spoken rule of appointing this post but when we refer to "Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977" by which the post has got official and statutory status, the majority required is decided by the head of the houses, that is speaker and chairman as the case maybe.Refer to definition of Leader of Opposition in the act.
The Leader of the Opposition serves on several important committees, including the selection panels for the Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Central Bureau of Investigation Director and members of the Lokpal national human right commission members and chairman and chief information commissioners. Central vigilance Commission Act, 2003, clause 4, explicitly provides for the leader of the single largest group in opposition to be inducted as a member of the selection committee in a scenario where the lower house of parliament does not have a recognized leader of the opposition.
Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
|Vacant||No official opposition||26 January 1952 – 4 March 1967||First
|Vacant||No official opposition||4 March 1967 – 12 December 1969||Fourth|
|Ram Subhag Singh||Indian National Congress (O)||17 December 1969 – 27 December 1970|
|Vacant||No official opposition||27 December 1970 – 31 June 1977||Fifth|
|Y. B. Chavan||Indian National Congress||1 July 1977– 11 April 1978||Sixth|
|C. M. Stephen||12 April 1978 – 9 July 1979|
|Y. B. Chavan||10–28 July 1979|
|Jagjivan Ram||Janata Party||29 July – 22 August 1979|
|Vacant||No official opposition||22 August 1979 – 18 December 1989||Seventh
|Rajiv Gandhi||Indian National Congress||18 December 1989 – 23 December 1990||Ninth|
|L. K. Advani||Bharatiya Janata Party||24 December 1990 – 13 March 1991|
|21 June 1991 – 26 July 1993||Tenth|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||26 July 1993 – 10 May 1996|
|P. V. Narasimha Rao||Indian National Congress||16–31 May 1996||Eleventh|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||Bharatiya Janata Party||1 June 1996 – 4 December 1997|
|Sharad Pawar||Indian National Congress||19 March 1998 – 26 April 1999||Twelfth|
|Sonia Gandhi||13 October 1999 – 6 February 2004||Thirteenth|
|L. K. Advani||Bharatiya Janata Party||22 May 2004 – 18 May 2009||Fourteenth|
|Sushma Swaraj||21 December 2009 - 19 May 2014||Fifteenth|
|Vacant||No official opposition||4 June 2014 - Present day||Sixteenth|
List of Leaders of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha
In Rajya Sabha until 1969, there was no Leader of the Opposition in real sense of the term. Till then, the practice was to call the Leader of the party in Opposition having the largest number of the members as the Leader of the Opposition, without according him any formal recognition, status or privilege. The office of Leader of the Opposition was given official recognition through the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977. This Act defines the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, as a member of the Council of States who is, for the time being, the Leader in that House of the party in opposition to the Government constituting the greatest numerical strength and recognized as such by the Chairman of the Council of States. Thus, the Leader of the Opposition should satisfy three conditions, namely, (i) he should be a member of the House (ii) the Leader in Rajya Sabha of the party in opposition to the Government having the greatest numerical strength and (iii) be recognized as such by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.
Following members have been the Leaders of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.
- "Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977". Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Government of India. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- Parliament Of India. Legislativebodiesinindia.nic.in. Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
- Lok Sabha. Legislativebodiesinindia.nic.in. Retrieved on 2014-05-21.
- Rajya Sabha Introduction. Rajyasabha.nic.in. Retrieved on 2014-05-21.