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Maharashtra’s political crisis: Anti-defection law

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Maharashtra’s political crisis: Anti-defection law

The recent political crisis in Maharashtra has revived the debate on the legal aspect of defection of elected MLAs.

The anti-defection law disqualifies legislators who, after being elected on a political party ticket, voluntarily give up membership of that party.

It was included in the 10th Schedule through the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.

Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is decided by the Presiding Officer of the House.

Grounds of Disqualification: Membership is terminated on the following grounds-

  • If an elected member voluntarily gives up his membership of a political party. If he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party or anyone authorized to do so, without obtaining prior permission. As a pre-condition for his disqualification, his abstention from voting should not be condoned by his party or the authorized person within 15 days of such incident.
  • If any independently elected member joins any political party.
  • If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.

Exceptions to the anti-defection law-

  • The anti-defection law allows a political party to merge with or with another party provided at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favor of the merger.
  • If a person is elected as Speaker of Lok Sabha or Chairman of Rajya Sabha, he can resign from his party. After leaving office, he can join that party again.

Other Related Information

  • State of Gujarat v. Justice R.A. Mehta (Retd) Case, 2013: A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that it is for the Governor to accept the advice of the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers (CoM) to dissolve the Assembly.
  • Article 163 of the Constitution states that the Governor shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. But not in cases where the Constitution empowers him to take decisions at his discretion.

Source – The Hindu

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