Defection laws have recently become a major issue as a result of the leaders’ complete contempt for the country’s defection rules. Defection has been a contentious subject in India since its independence. In a democratic society, elections allow people to express their desires; political defections that occur between elections counter that assertive act; therefore, as a corollary, the people’s expressed desire. Defections were prevalent in India even before the country’s independence, when representation was minimal. The emergence of coalition politics in 1960 increased the incidence of defections as elected officials competed for a position on the council of ministers.
An anti-defection law effectively creates the grounds for a member of the Legislative Assembly or a Member of Parliament to lose his rights as an Elected Representative of a party and therefore be removed from the party. These grounds are outlined in the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule. The Indian courts have intervened multiple times through judicial statements and have attempted to establish certain norms via decisions to stimulate better politics and healthy rivalry among the parties. The Government at the time Rajiv Gandhi enacted the anti-defection law in the constitution in 1985 as the 52nd constitutional amendment to prohibit simple political defection. According to the law, a group of members can only quit one party to join another if they have the support of at least two-thirds of the original party’s total MLAs.
RELEVANCE OF ANTI-DEFECTION LAW IN INDIAN DEMOCRACY
It started with the popular phenomenon “Aya ram Gaya ram” in period1960 of Indian politics. It’s come to check corruption and house trading in parliament. The relevance of anti-defection law has completed failed over the last three decades with the failure of the government in Maharashtra Madhya Pradesh Karnataka goa. The recent crisis in Maharashtra is seen that group individuals make different groups from the ruling party and forced the chief minister to resign and the head of the different group is now heading the government by becoming the chief minister. This contemporary scene made this clear that, the 10th schedule is seeming to no longer be powerful in ceasing the hero of the defection in India. The main reason behind the failure of the government and the formation of the government from defection is the delay in deciding the petition of the defection as there is no specified period mentioned in to decide upon the disqualification of the legislature by the governing officials.
Some committees’ recommendations for the anti-defection law:
- Dinesh Goswami’s committee on electoral reform
- This law has some limitations like:
- For the members of the parliament who voluntarily give up their membership, the law is not applicable
- For the members of the decision the contrary to the confidence of his party
- The authority to decide on the disqualification is in the hand of the president and speaker and governor on the recommendations of the election commission
- Law Commission (170th Report, 1999):
The provision of split and mergers shall be deleted as an exception from the provision of disqualification. Under the anti-defection law, pre-poll electoral fronts should be recognized as political parties.
- Election Commission:
The power of the decision of disqualification shall be to the President/Governor on the recommendation of the Election Commission.
- Constitution Review Commission (2002):
Defaulters who are not faithful to their party will be disqualified from obtaining public office and from getting any political job or compensation from the party. The voting cast by defaulters will be considered void.
WAY FORWARD TO MAKING THE ANTI-DEFECTION LAW EFFECTIVE
- Use of the anti-defection law
That law should be vailed only those that determine the stability of the government example: voting for the annual budget or non-confidence motions.
- Independent authority for decision
Justice Verma said that the speaker’s tenure depends upon the majority of the government so is not able to decide the case of defection law as his decision, as the only arbitrator on the subject, breaches an essential aspect of the fundamental characteristics. There should be an academic review of the 10th schedule by the apex court so that they can advise on the future use of the law of anti-defection in a timely and should happen soon.
For a long time, the phenomenon of desertion has plagued the Indian political panorama. Over the past 35 years, the Anti-Defection Regulation has proven ineffectual, but it has had a major detrimental influence on India’s legislative structure, with a chilling impact on deliberations within the house. Even though its underlying ethos is noble with the cause of stopping party hopping, ensuring that.
Author’s Name: Nancy Sharma (Trinity Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi)