What is anti defection law? What is its pros and cons?

Posted on 2018-05-10 18:31:29 by Neel Kamal


Defection can be defined as a situation in which party leader abandons his loyality toward his own party and provides support to other parties.

Credit for this post goes to Prarthit Sharma who wrote it on Quora

Introduction - Anti defection law, contained in the tenth schedule of the constitution was introduced in the 52nd amendment during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi. Earlier this tenth schedule was related to the association of Sikkim which was later repealed when Sikkim acquired full fledged status of state of India.

Defection definition - Defection can be defined as a situation in which party leader abandons his loyality toward his own party and provides support to other parties.

Historical Background - Originally the constitution of India did not contain any provisions regarding anti defection because at that time Multi party system in India was not evolved to such extent. Later in 1967 election congress lost majority and as a result of this coalition era in India started. Many MLA’s started shifting from one political party to another political party. A Haryana legislator Gaya lal changed his party three times so all the defectors were used to be called as Aaya Ram Gaya Ram.

Provisions Regarding Tenth Schedule

Conditions of Disqualification

  1. If a member of a house belonging to a political party : a) Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, b ) Votes, or does not vote in the legislature,opposite to the directions of his political party.
  2. 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.
  3. If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  4. If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.

Power to Disqualify

  1. The Chairman or the Speaker of the House takes the decision to disqualify a member.
  2. 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.

Exceptions 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.

Way forward - As according to me there are two reforms which are needed to be implemented in this anti defection law. Firstly, there should be a proper reviewing system of the Speaker or chairman by the Supreme court and secondly, the whip issued by the political parties should be limited to only such situations where there is a danger to the Government.

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