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Whip in Parliament

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    4th Mar, 2023


Members of a house are bound by the ‘whip’, and must follow the whip as observed by the Supreme Court

About Whip:

  • In parliamentary jargon, a whip is a written directive requiring party members to be present for crucial votes or to vote a certain way only.
  • The phrase comes from the traditional British method of "whipping in" legislators to toe the party line.
  • To issue whips, parties designate a senior member from among their Parliamentary delegations. This member is called a chief whip, and he/ she is assisted by additional whips.
  • In India, all parties can issue whips to their members.

Role of a whip:

  • They try to ensure that their fellow political party legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to their party’s official policy.

Limitations of whip:

  • There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.

Violations of whips:

  • The consequence for ignoring a whip differs depending on the nation. In the UK, an MP who disobeys the whip can be expelled from the party but still retain their House seat as an Independent.
  • IN case of India, The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/ Chairperson to disqualify such a member who has gone against the whip.
    • The sole exceptionis when a directive is opposed by more than a third of lawmakers, essentially dividing the party.

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