Supreme Court dismisses BJP member plea seeking leader of opposition status

Tanvi Sinha

Supreme Court  dismissed  BJP leader Prabhakar Shinde’s petition that sought to be recognized as the leader of Opposition in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde, heard the petition where it challenged the decision laid out by the Bombay Court, which was heard by a division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice Madhav J Jamadar. 

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi spoke for the petitioner stating that a healthy opposition was necessary for democracy and that provisions of law governing the municipal corporation of greater Mumbai called for a situation that could be changed, as there was no bar in taking a position and no force on a member remaining in office for five years.  

A three-judge bench of CJI SA Bobde with Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, however, dismissed the petition stating that they were not willing to accept a case where legal right is dependant on how a relationship changes, and that agreeing with the petitioner would mean subscribing to a philosophy that things are right only if they are opposed. 

On September 21st 2020, the Bombay HC had dismissed the petition on similar grounds stating that “A mere volte-face or change of heart or decision to increase one’s extent of participation whilst in opposition, cannot justify the removal of an incumbent Leader of Opposition, who was otherwise duly appointed in accordance with law.”

The plea filed by Mr. Shinde had stated that the mayor had failed to recognise him as leader of the second largest party in the civic body and did not appoint him as LoP in place of Raja who was only leader of the third largest party.

Read more: SC dismisses BJP leader A H Vishwanath’s plea to reverse Karnataka HC’s decision on disqualification