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Leader of the House

In India, the term Leader of the House has been defined in Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

The Leader of the House, according to Rule 2 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha means the Prime Minister, if he is a Member of the House or a Minister who is a Member of the House and is nominated by the Prime Minister to function as the Leader of the House.

The Prime Minister is invariably the Leader of the Lok Sabha.
Rule 2(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha is identically worded.

It has been the practice that during the protracted absence of the Leader of the House when Lok Sabha is in session, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, in consultation with the former, intimates to the Speaker as to who would act as the Leader of the House, but no formal announcement in this regard is made in the House

Leader of the Opposition

For a party leader to qualify to be the Opposition Leader that party should have won a minimum 10% (54) of the Lok Sabha seats.

The opposition leader qualifies to get perks, salaries and allowances that are the same as a Cabinet minister under the existing rule.

The opinion of the opposition leader is mandatorily required while making key appointments in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

If the government wishes it can keep that position in the panel vacant and go ahead with the appointments by changing the rules.

Leader of the Opposition, in either Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha, may be, a person who is, for the time being, the leader in that house of the party in opposition having the greatest numerical strength and recognized as such by the chairman of the upper house or the Speaker of the lower house, as the case may be.

Where there are two or more parties in opposition having the same numerical strength, the chairman or the Speaker, as the case may be, will have to recognize any one of the leaders of such parties as the “Leader of the Opposition” and such recognition will be final and conclusive.

Whip

A whip is the instruction issued by political parties to vote according to the party line in a legislature. Violation of the party whip could lead to expulsion under the Anti Defection Act. Sometimes political parties decide on a particular course of action, but may not issue a whip to enforce it. In such a case, the members of Parliament are free to vote as per their choice. But usually, in case of an important vote, a whip is issued.

A whip is of three kinds.

  1. A one-line whip is non-binding, and merely serves to inform the members of the vote.
  2. A two-line whip seeks attendance in the legislature during the vote.
  3. A three-line whip is a clear-cut directive, to be present in the legislature during the vote and cast vote according to the party line. Violation of the whip could lead to the member’s expulsion from the House.

In India, under the anti-defection law, a three-line whip can be violated only by more than one-third of a party’s strength in the legislature.

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