Effectiveness of Anti-Defection Law
Polity & Governance
1st Aug, 2019
At least 16 MLAs of ruling party of Karnataka Assembly had recently tendered their resignations, and with the two independents’ support also withdrawn, the HD Kumaraswamy-led government is in a state of quandary.
- At least 16 MLAs of ruling party of Karnataka Assembly had recently tendered their resignations, and with the two independents’ support also withdrawn, the HD Kumaraswamy-led government is in a state of quandary.
The Anti Defection Law and Its purpose
Aaya Ram Gaya Ram was a phrase that became popular in Indian politics after a Haryana MLA Gaya Lal changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967. After such incidents, a need was felt to prevent such political defections which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.
The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections”.
Anti-Defection provisions under the Tenth Schedule
- If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
- Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
- Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party.
- However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
b. If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
c. If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.
- The Chairman or the Speaker of the House takes the decision to disqualify a member.
- If a complaint is received with respect to the defection of the Chairman or Speaker, a member of the House elected by that House shall take the decision.
- A person shall not be disqualified if his original political party merges with another, and:
- He and other members of the old political party become members of the new political party, or
- He and other members do not accept the merger and opt to function as a separate group.
- This exception shall operate only if not less than two-thirds of the members of party in the House have agreed to the merger.
Whip and its Role
- The office of ‘whip’ is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.
- A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.
- In India all parties can issue a whip to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips.
- The importance of a whip can be inferred from the number of times an order is underlined:
- A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
- A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
- A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.