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Anti-defection law

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Anti-defection law

Why in news :

  • A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India is presently hearing a set of cases popularly known as the “Maharashtra political controversy cases”.

More about the law :

  • The anti-defection law was introduced into the Constitution via the Tenth Schedule, in 1985.

  • Its purpose was to check increasingly frequent floor-crossing; lured by money, ministerial berths, threats, or a combination of the three, legislators were regularly switching party affiliations in the house (and bringing down governments with them).
  • The Tenth Schedule sought to put a stop to this by stipulating that if any legislator voted against the party whip, he or she would be disqualified from the house.

Grounds of disqualification :

  • If an elected member gives up his membership of a political party voluntarily.
  • If he votes or abstains from voting in the House, contrary to any direction issued by his political party.
  • If any member who is independently elected joins any party.
  • If any nominated member joins any political party after the 6 months.
  • The decision on disqualification questions on the ground of defection is referred to the Speaker or the Chairman of the House, and his/her decision is final.

Exceptions under the Anti Defection Law :

  1. Merger:
    • If two-thirds of the legislators of a political party decide to merge into another party, neither the members who decide to join nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
  2. Any person elected as chairman or speaker can resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demits that post.

Deciding Authority :

  • Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House (Speaker/Chairman).

Syllabus : Prelims + Mains; GS2 – Polity

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