New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a petition seeking a direction to the Lok Sabha Speaker to draft policy on the appointment of the Leader of Opposition for the 17th Lok Sabha. Also Read - Delhi Oxygen Crisis: Supreme Court asks Centre for a Plan by 10:30 am Today, Stays HC's Contempt Proceedings

The petition contended that denying the second largest party the leadership in the parliament sets the wrong precedence and dilutes the democracy. Also Read - You Can Put Your Head in Sand Like an Ostrich, We Won't: Delhi HC Slams Centre for Failing to Supply Oxygen

The court said that there is no statutory requirement for the appointment of the leader of the opposition. Also Read - Learn From Present Experience And Set up Oxygen Plants: Delhi HC to Hospitals Amid O2 Crisis

The petition that the Leader of Opposition is a ‘statutory post’ and the Speaker is performing a ‘statutory duty’ in recognising the Leader of Opposition, he or she cannot exercise any discretion in the matter.

“There is no room for ifs and buts, under the Salaries and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977, the duty of the Speaker is to recognise the eligible person,” says the petition.

The petition further submitted that the importance of a powerful opposition is extremely important for the functioning of a mature democracy.

In the 16th Lok Sabha also, the strength of Congress in the Lok Sabha was less than 10% of the total number of MPs in the house which denied them the post of Leader of Opposition.

On June 18, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior Congress leader and West Bengal MP,  was named by the Congress as its leader in the Lok Sabha. However, Speaker Om Birla has not appointed him as the Leader of Opposition yet.

(With Inputs from Agencies)