No need to amend anti-defection law as of now

No need to amend anti-defection law as of now

Recently, the law minister said in the Rajya Sabha that there is no need to amend the Anti-Defection Act as it has withstood the test of time.

The Law Minister has given this statement in a written reply to a question. The question was asked whether the anti-defection law in its present form is sufficient to prevent abetted defection.

Concerns about anti-defection law

  • The anti-defection law has encouraged mass defection. This reduces the number of members of the ruling party in the house and then the government falls. Thus, this law proves to be ineffective in stabilizing the elected government.
  • The meaning of the word ‘merger’ in the anti-defection law is not clear.
  • The MLAs/MPs have for themselves interpreted the word ‘merger’ to mean the merger of two-thirds of the MLAs/MPs. According to him the merger of his parent political party is not necessary.
  • However, some experts are of the view that if the parent party does not merge, then no matter how many dissatisfied MLAs/MPs, they cannot claim to be disqualified.
  • The final decision on defection is taken by the presiding officers of the Parliament and the Legislature. However, their decision may be subject to judicial review (Kihota Hollohon v. Zachillhu, 1992 case).
  • The law does not specify any time limit within which the presiding officers have to take a decision on an anti-defection case.

Anti-defection law-

  • Parliament added it to the Constitution in 1985 as the Tenth Schedule. Its purpose was to bring stability in the governments by discouraging the defection legislators.
  • Under this law, if any MLA/MP voluntarily renounces the membership of his party or votes against the direction of the party whip or does not vote, then his membership is terminated from the house and he is disqualified.
  • According to the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003, the anti-defection law allows a political party to merge with or with another political party, provided that at least two-thirds of its members are in favor of the merger.

Source- The Hindu

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