Anti Defection Law

Anti-defection law: when a nominated MP loses RS membership


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Anti-defection law

Mains level: Not Much

A nominated MP had to resign from Rajya Sabha before the completion of his term due to the Anti-defection law.

The story of Nominated Members

  • During the making of the Constitution, members of the Constituent Assembly felt that Rajya Sabha should have members who might not win elections but will bring knowledge and expertise to discussions.
  • It led to Rajya Sabha having 12 nominated members from different walks of life.
  • The broad criterion for their nomination is that they should have distinguished themselves in fields like literature, science, art, and social service.
  • The President nominates such individuals as recommended by the Centre.
  • Nominated members have the same rights and privileges as elected members, with one notable difference — they cannot vote in the election of the President.

Anti-defection law

  • In 1985 the Tenth Schedule, popularly known as the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution.
  • But its enactment was catalyzed by the political instability after the general elections of 1967.
  • This was the time when multiple state governments were toppled after MLAs changed their political loyalties.
  • The purpose of the 1985 Constitution Amendment was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political parties on whose ticket they were elected.
  • The penalty for shifting political loyalties is the loss of parliamentary membership and a bar on becoming a minister.

Try this PYQ:

Consider the following statements:

  1. The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha are not the members of that House.
  2. While the nominated members of the two Houses of the Parliament have no voting right in the presidential election, they have the right to vote in the election of the Vice President.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

What invites defection?

The law covers three types of scenarios with respect to MP switching parties.

  1. 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 contrary to the wishes of the party.
  2. The second possibility is when an MP who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate after the election joins a political party. In both these instances, the MP lose the seat in the House on changing (or joining) a party.
  3. The third scenario relates to nominated MPs. In their case, the law specifies that within six months of being nominated to the House, they can choose to join a political party.

Why is a nominated member given 6month time?

  • The time is given so that if a nominated MP is not a member of a political party, they can decide to join one if they want.
  • But if they don’t join a political party during the first six months of their tenure, and join a party thereafter, then they lose their seat in Parliament.

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