Anti Defection Law

Anti-defection Law

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Anti-defection law

Mains level : Read the attached story

An independent MLA from Gujarat is said to have has joined a national political party “in spirit” as he could not formally do so, having been elected as an independent.

What is Anti-defection Law?

  • The Anti-Defection Law under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution punishes MPs/ MLAs for defecting from their party by taking away their membership of the legislature.
  • It gives the Speaker of the legislature the power to decide the outcome of defection proceedings.
  • It was added to the Constitution through the Fifty-Second (Amendment) Act, 1985 when Rajiv Gandhi was PM.
  • The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.

Why in news?

  • The anti-defection law specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by legislators invites action under the law.
  • It includes situations in which an independent MLA, too, joins a party after the election.

Why are independents important?

  • Independents give voters better opportunities to express their preferences.
  • This can improve political representation, as independents are free from the dictates of a party line, and have the flexibility to represent local preferences in a way that party-affiliated candidates often do not.

Cases consider under the anti-defection law

The law covers three scenarios with respect to shifting of political parties by an MP or an MLA.

(1) Voluntary give-up

  • The first is when a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House against the wishes of the party.
  • Such persons lose his seat.

(2) Independent members

  • When a legislator who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  • In both these instances, the legislator loses the seat in the legislature on changing (or joining) a party.

(3) Nominated MPs

  • In their case, the law gives them six months to join a political party, after being nominated.
  • If they join a party after such time, they stand to lose their seat in the House.

Covering independent members

  • In 1969, a committee chaired by Home Minister Y B Chavan examined the issue of defection.
  • It observed that after the 1967 general elections, defections changed the political scene in India: 176 of 376 independent legislators later joined a political party.
  • However, the committee did not recommend any action against independent legislators.
  • A member disagreed with the committee on the issue of independents and wanted them disqualified if they joined a political party.
  • In the absence of a recommendation on this issue by the Chavan committee, the initial attempts at creating the anti-defection law (1969, 1973) did not cover independent legislators joining political parties.
  • The next legislative attempt, in 1978, allowed independent and nominated legislators to join a political party once.
  • But when the Constitution was amended in 1985, independent legislators were prevented from joining a political party and nominated legislators were given six months’ time.

Powers to disqualification

  • Under the anti-defection law, the power to decide the disqualification of an MP or MLA rests with the presiding officer of the legislature.
  • The law does not specify a time frame in which such a decision has to be made.
  • As a result, Speakers of legislatures have sometimes acted very quickly or have delayed the decision for years — and have been accused of political bias in both situations.

Try this easy PYQ:

Which one of the following Schedules of the Constitution of India contains provisions regarding anti-defection?

(a) Second Schedule

(b) Fifth Schedule

(c) Eighth Schedule

(d) Tenth Schedule

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Vandana Ghlot
Vandana Ghlot
11 months ago
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d

Pranjali Sonar
Pranjali Sonar
11 months ago
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d Tenth Schedule

yatin koranga
yatin koranga
11 months ago
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D

Annuj Sawant
Annuj Sawant
11 months ago
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d

Shashi Chandra
Shashi Chandra
11 months ago
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D