New Delhi: Congress should get the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha in spite of it not having the requisite numbers, former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said today.
He said a plain reading of law makes it clear that for a person to be recognised for the post should be leader of a party in Opposition with the greatest numerical strength.
He was rejecting suggestions that Congress, with 44 MPs in the Lok Sabha, may not get the post of Leader of the Opposition.
"Beyond these legal requirements mentioned in Section 2 of The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, there appears to be no other condition such as the minimum number of strength of such party equivalent to the quorum of the house," Moily said in a statement to PTI.
He said the "ambiguity" on the issue has arisen due to the practice being followed by the Lok Sabha Speaker in granting recognition to Leaders of the Opposition in the past.
"The practice has been to read Direction 121 of the Directions of the Speaker which says that in recognising a Parliamentary Party or Group, the Speaker should ensure that it shall have at least a strength equal to the quorum fixed to constitute a sitting of the House, that is one-tenth of the total number of members of the House.
"Thus by a combined reading of Direction 121 and Section 2 of the Act, the practice of insisting the minimum requirement of 55 members has evolved. In this context it may be mentioned that directions of the Speaker cannot override a statutory requirement," he insisted.