The Anti-Defection Law
- In light of the events unfolding in Maharashtra, with the Uddhav Thackeray government facing internal dissent from a block of 22 MLAs led by Eknath Shinde, the anti-defection law has again come into the spotlight.
What is in the 10th Schedule?
- The 10th Schedule also known as the Anti-Defection Law was brought in through the 52nd Amendment.
- The Anti-Defection Law was enacted to ensure that a party member doesn’t go against the mandate of the political party.
- The Anti-Defection Law is applicable to both Parliamnet and the state legislatures.
What are the grounds for 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 end of 6 months.
Who decides on the disqualification?
- 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.
- All proceedings in relation to disqualification under this Schedule are considered to be proceedings in Parliament or the Legislature of a state as is the case.
Is the law authoritarian?
- This provision of the Anti-Defection Law was not limited to confidence motions or money bills (which are quasi-confidence motions).
- It also applies to all votes in the House, on every Bill and every other issue. It even applies to the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils, which have no say in the stability of the government.
- Therefore, an MP (or MLA) has absolutely no freedom to vote their judgement on any issue.
- They are forced to follow the direction of the party. This provision goes against the concept of representative democracy.
- There are two broadly accepted roles of a representative such as an MP in a democracy. One is that they are agents of the voters and are expected to vote according to the wishes and for the benefits of their constituents.
- The other is that their duty to their constituents is to exercise their judgement on various issues towards the broader public interest.
Source The Hindu