Anti-defection law was passed in the year 1985 through the 52nd amendment  in the Indian constitution. The law was contained in the 10th schedule of the constitution came into the effect from march 1 1985,Basically this law was brought to maintain stability in political system. The legislators were defecting from one party to another party and seeking advantage of it so this law was brought to avoid defection. Now we will look at the history of this law why this law was made?. There was one MLA named gaya lal he changed his party thrice within the same day in the year 1967,so that’s why there is a saying “Aya ram Gaya ram”. So the 10th schedule was added by 52nd amendment act of 1985 .It lays down the procedure by which the legislators may be disqualified on the grounds of defection by the presiding officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other members of the house.

Starting from the private members efforts ,bills were brought in by the government in different times. No bill could be passed for the one reason or the other. Anti-defection law was a necessary step by the parliament to curb these evil happening in  the political system .Now we will look at what are the grounds for disqualification so first ground is that if the member voluntary gives up the membership of the party because voluntary giving up the membership means resigning from the party so it’s the discretion of the member to resign or to remain in the party. Second reason for the disqualification will be that if the legislator votes against the will of the his party to which he belongs to these are the two grounds for the disqualification of the member of the house. There is however a exception to this law if there is a merger between two political parties and two-third members of the party agree to merge then they will not be disqualified under law. Now we will look at the merits of the anti-defection law .

Merits of Anti-defection law

So following are the merits of anti-defection law :

  • This law is very beneficial as it provides firmness and stability in the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.
  • It interferes with the member’s freedom of speech and expression by curbing dissent against political parties
  • It ensures that the party members elected should must be faithful and wise with their party.

This law turned out to be very fruitful as it helps in maintain the discipline in the party.

Now we will look at some international aspect of the anti-defection law where this law can be found in what all countries this law is followed.

Anti-defection law is not only prevalent in India but it’s prevalent in other countries also like Bangladesh, Kenya and south Africa .Article 70 of the Bangladesh constitution states that a member shall vacate his seats if he resigns from or votes against the directions given by his party. This dispute is referred by the speaker to the election commission.

Now we will look at the reasons why defection happens for what purpose do legislators defect:

  • The first reason for the defection by legislators is the lust for money ,the members of the party they change the party if they are getting money in some other party
  • Second main reason is that the members may not be satisfied by the ministerial positions in the respective party to which they belongs or may be the opposition, rivalry party offered some big ministerial positions to the members of some other party.
  • Third reason is that their might be some ideological differences between the same members of the party or internal disputes between the party members regarding the working of party or the positions in the party.
  • Another reason which may lead a member to change his party is the absence of great and robust leadership in the party.

Now we will look at the criticisms and loopholes in the 10th schedule of the Indian constitution:

  • The 10th schedule has badly failed to distinguish between the dissent and defection due to which it had always been a subject of scathing criticism by the experts in the constitution.
  • There is unlimited powers given to the house of speaker which proved to be non-democratic, For example the party whose members are in majority the speaker will be of that particular party so the speaker will take decisions or make judgements on in favour his party.

Now I will give some latest examples of defection though the law is made but still the defection is going ,I will mention some recent examples from the state of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka

Maharashtra’s defection case : One minister of nationalist congress party Ajit pawar defected the party at night and went in the bjp. Koshyari the governor of Maharashtra administered the oath of office of  chief minister to Devendra fadanvis and also given post of debuty chief minister to ajit pawar. The bjp and Mr. Pawar have claimed that they have enough MLA’S  to prove the majority in the house and supreme court also ordered the floor test.

Now we will look at one of the important case that is Kihota Hollohan vs Zachillu (1992)

In this judgement the apex court of the country clarified that the 10th schedule is constitutionally valid. It neither impinges upon the freedom of speech and expression nor subverts the democratic rights of elected members.

  • It also upheld the sweeping discretion available to the speaker in deciding cases of disqualification of mla.

Author: vedant bajaj,
sls nagpur/1st yr ballb student

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