Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Official Opposition in Parliament and State Legislatures


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Official Opposition, LoP

Mains level : Parliamentary Conduct and decorum of the houses

The 60-member Nagaland Assembly now has no MLA in the Opposition.

Official Opposition

  • It is a term used in Parliament and State Legislatures to designate the political party which has secured the second largest number of seats in either upper or lower houses.
  • In order to get formal recognition in either upper or lower houses, the concerned party must have at least 10% of the total strength of the house.
  • A single party has to meet the 10% seat criterion, not an alliance.
  • Many of the Indian state legislatures also follow this 10% rule while the rest of them prefer the single largest opposition party according to the rules of their respective houses.

Why study the Opposition?

  • The Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu recently broke down when he condemned the violent ruckus that erupted in the Upper House very recently.
  • This has raised questions about the decency of the conduct of our elected representatives.

Role of the Opposition

  • The role of the opposition in the legislature is basically to check the excesses of the ruling or dominant party, and not to be totally antagonistic.
  • Their main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. This also helps to fix the mistakes of the Ruling Party.
  • The Opposition is equally responsible for upholding the best interests of the people of the country.
  • They have to ensure that the Government does not take any steps, which might have negative effects on the people of the country.

In the legislature, Opposition Party has a major role, which is:

  1. Constructive criticism of the government.
  2. Putting restriction of the arbitrariness of ruling party
  3. Safeguarding liberty and right of people
  4. Preparation to form a government
  5. Expression of public opinion

Leader of the Opposition

  • They are the politicians who lead the official opposition in either House of the Parliament of India.
  • The LoP is the parliamentary chairperson of the party with the most seats after the government party.
  • S/He is given the status of a minister in recognition of his importance.
  • The LoP received statutory recognition through the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977.

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