Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

What is the role of the Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

Mains level: Significance of the Leader of Opposition

Why in the news? 

For a decade, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha remained vacant due to the absence of any party meeting the customary threshold of one-tenth of the House’s strength, now filled by Rae Bareli MP Rahul Gandhi.

Leader of Opposition in the past:


Who can serve as Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha?

  • Legal Definition: According to The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, the Leader of the Opposition is a member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha who leads the largest party in opposition to the government, recognised by the Speaker (Lok Sabha) or Chairman (Rajya Sabha).
  • Needed Strength: The leader must lead the party with the greatest numerical strength among the opposition parties in the respective House.
  • Recognition: The Speaker (Lok Sabha) or Chairman (Rajya Sabha) is mandated to recognize the leader of the largest opposition party as the Leader of the Opposition, irrespective of the party having a minimum threshold of 10% seats in the House.

Significance of the positions and its significant role in Indian Political Democracy

  • Voice of the Opposition: The Leader of the Opposition serves as the primary spokesperson for the opposition in the House, articulating their views, criticisms, and alternative policies to those of the government.
  • Role in Committees: The Leader of Opposition plays a crucial role in high-powered committees responsible for appointments to key posts like the Director of CBI, Central Vigilance Commissioner, and others. This ensures a bipartisan approach in crucial appointments.
  • Ceremonial Role: The Leader of Opposition enjoys ceremonial privileges such as sitting in the front row during important occasions like the President’s Address to Parliament, symbolizing their role as a significant political figure.
  • Constitutional Checks and Balances: By providing an institutionalized position for the opposition, the Leader of Opposition ensures checks and balances on the ruling party’s power, fostering democratic accountability and oversight.
  • Precedence and Protocol: In the order of precedence, the Leader of Opposition ranks alongside Union Cabinet Ministers and other senior officials, reflecting their role in the functioning of the parliamentary democracy.

Conclusion: The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, recognized per the 1977 Act, leads the largest opposition party, ensuring a vital role in governance oversight, committee appointments, and parliamentary protocol, crucial for democratic checks and balances.

Mains PYQ: 

Q The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint sessions of the two houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reasons thereof. (UPSC IAS/2017)

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