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Anti-Defection Law

17-JUL-2015 15:14

    Anti-Defection Law:

    The Anti-Defection Law amended articles 101, 102, 190 and 191 of the Constitution regarding vacation of seats and disqualification from membership of Parliament and the State Legislatures and setting out certain provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection.

    Features of the Act

    The features of the Anti-defection law can be explained as follows:

    • A person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.

    • A person shall be disqualified for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.

    • Addition of Tenth Schedule-After the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution, the tenth Schedule was incorporated, which included Articles 102(2) and 191(2).

    Following are the constitutional provisions:

    Article 75(1A) states that the total number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the total number of members of the House of the People.

    Article 75(1B) states that a member of either House of Parliament belonging to any political party who is disqualified for being a member of that House shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a Minister for duration of the period commencing from the date of his disqualification till the date on which the term of his office as such member would expire or where he contests any election to either House of Parliament before the expiry of such period, till the date on which he is declared elected, whichever is earlier.

    102 (2) states that a person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule

    164(1A) states that the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State:

    164 (1B) states that a member of the Legislative Assembly of a State or either House of the Legislature of a State having Legislative Council belonging to any political party who is disqualified for being a member of that House shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a Minister for duration of the period commencing from the date of his disqualification till the date on which the term of his office as such member would expire or where he contests any election to the Legislative Assembly of a State or either House of the Legislature of a State having Legislative Council, as the case may be, before the expiry of such period, till the date on which he is declared elected, whichever is earlier

    191 (2) A person shall be disqualified for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.

    361-B Disqualification for appointment on remunerative political post

    Critical Appraisal of the Act

    Anti-defection law has been considered as a watershed in the ethical politics of India. It has coerced legislators to be moral and synchronised with a political mind set. Anti-defection law has discouraged politicians to shift gears for their personal gain. However, it also revealed many deficiencies in the act and even at times failed to prevent defections. In light of this, following statements can further be seen critically:

    Advantages –

    • Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.

    • Ensures that candidates elected with party support and on the basis of party manifestoes remain loyal to the party policies.

    • Also promotes party discipline.

    Disadvantages –

    • By preventing parliamentarians from changing parties, it reduces the accountability of the government to the Parliament and the people.

    • Interferes with the member’s freedom of speech and expression by curbing dissent against party policies.

    Therefore, the main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections”. A member would incur a disqualification when he “voluntarily gives up his membership of a party” and when he/she votes (or abstains from voting) contrary to the directive issued by the party.

    Jagranjosh

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