Photo: Hindustan Times
Photo: Hindustan Times

SC seeks govt reply to plea on why opposition leader can’t be on key panels

SC issued notice to the centre on a plea seeking directions that appointing committees of which the leader of opposition formed a part may be read to mean the leader of the largest opposition party in that House.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the centre’s response on a petition demanding that the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha be treated as the leader of opposition and be included in panels selecting the heads of statutory bodies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Central Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission and the Lokpal.

The top court issued notice to the centre on a plea seeking directions that appointing committees of which the leader of opposition formed a part may be read to mean the leader of the largest opposition party in that House.

In another petition by NGO Youth for Equality seeking quashing of provisions of the anti-graft law that provided blanket immunity to all public servants regardless of the status of inquiry in graft cases, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought the centre’s response. The plea challenged the amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, by which section 17A was incorporated and claimed it to be discriminatory, arbitrary and ultra vires of Articles 14 (equality before law) and 21 (right to life) under the Constitution. The main ground for the challenge stemmed from the mandatory requirement of government sanction for initiating probe against a public servant in a corruption case. Advocate Gopal Sankaranayanan, appearing on behalf of the NGO, expressed displeasure about the country’s statutory bodies experiencing an overwhelming amount of governmental control. The court in November had sought the centre’s response on a plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging the constitutional validity of Section 17A as it would serve as blanket immunity.

PTI contributed to this story.

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