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Anti Defection Laws In India

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  • Last Updated : 28 Nov, 2022
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Nowadays success in every single examination like Bank, SSC, and others depends much on the candidate’s performance in the General Studies Section. In this article, we are going to cover one of the topics of Polity i.e “Tenth schedule of the Constitution”. This is a very important topic with respect to SSC CGL Exams. We will discuss this topic in detail so that if any question will come from this topic then students can get them correct and improve their scores.

Introduction of Anti-Defection Law :


  • This law punishes individual Members of Parliament (MPs) or Members of Legislative Council (MLAs) for switching from one party to another.
  • Parliament added it to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. The main purpose behind this was to bring stability to the government.
  • The Tenth Schedule also known as the Anti-Defection Law – was added to the Constitution by the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.
  • It provided certain provisions for the disqualification of electoral members on the grounds of defection to a different political party.
    it was done in a response to the falling of multiple democratically formed governments in the state.

Provisions under the 10th schedule: Grounds of Disqualification :


  • When an elected member voluntarily renounces his or her affiliation with a political party. 
  • Voting against the instructions of your political party or abstaining in Parliament. 
  • When any independently elected member joins any party. 
  • When a nominated member joins a political party after  6 months. 
  •  The decision on the questions of desertion is submitted to the Speaker or Speaker of the House of Representatives and his decision is final. Any proceeding relating to an exclusion under this Addendum shall be deemed to be proceeding before a state legislature or legislature, as the case may be.


  • In the event that two-thirds of the MLAs or MPs of a political party decide to merge with another party, neither the members who decide to join nor those who remain in the original party will be disqualified. 
  • Any person elected Chairman or Speaker may resign from his party and rejoin the party if he leaves office. 
  • Previously, the law permitted the separation of parties, but this is currently prohibited.


Fact – Who will be the Final Authority who decides on the disqualification?

Answer: The Presiding officer of the house.


 The time limit within which the Presiding Officer should decide?


  • There is no statutory time limit within which the presiding officers have to decide on an application for expulsion. The courts can also only intervene after the officer has made a decision,  so the only option for the petitioner is to wait until the decision is made. 
  • There have been a number of cases where courts have expressed concern about unnecessary delays in deciding such requests. 
    In some cases, there have been situations where members who defected from their political parties remained members of the house due to delays in decision-making by the Speaker or President. 
  • There have also been instances where members of the opposition have been appointed ministers in government while still being members of their original political parties in the state legislature.

Issues With Respect To Anti-Defection Law :


  • The Anti-Defection Law aims to maintain a stable government by ensuring that lawmakers do not change sides. However, this law also restricts a legislature from voting according to their conscience, judgment, and the interests of the electorate. 
  • This type of situation impedes the legislature’s oversight functions of government by ensuring that members vote based on decisions made by the party leadership and not on what their constituents expect of them. 
  • Political parties give instructions to parliamentarians on how to vote on most issues, regardless of the nature of the matter. 
  • Anti-Defection does not provide sufficient incentive for a Member of Parliament or an MLA to study and reflect on an issue in order to participate in the debate. The law breaks the bond between the elected legislature and its constituents. 
  • It is important to note that several experts have suggested that the law should apply only to those votes that decide on the stability of the government (approval of the annual budget or motions of no confidence).


Different Suggestions Related To The Anti-defection Law:

  • The Electoral Commission has proposed that it should be the deciding body in desertion cases. 
  • Some had suggested that the President /Governors should intervene in the matter of disqualification of members. 
  • The Supreme Court has suggested that there should be an independent tribunal set up by the Parliament and headed by a retired supreme court judge, who decides on desertion cases quickly and impartially. 
  • Some have recommended the law should get repealed as it is against the democratic values of the nation.


Role of Judiciary :

  • The Supreme court has interpreted various legal provisions. 
  • The expression “voluntarily resigns from membership” has a broader connotation than resignation. 
  • The law states that a member may be disqualified if he “voluntarily resigns from his membership”. However, the Supreme court has interpreted that without a formal waiver by the member, it can be concluded from his behavior that his membership has been waived.


Way Forward:

  • This problem arises because lawmakers trying to find a legal solution to a political problem. 
  • When government stability is a problem because people are leaving their parties, the response for the parties is to strengthen their internal systems. 
  • There is a great need in India for laws regulating political parties. Such a law is intended to subject political parties to the Right to Information (RTI), strengthen intra-party democracy, etc. 
  • In order to protect the adverse effect of the Anti-Defection law on representative democracy, the scope of the law can be limited to those laws in which the defeat of the government can lead to a loss of confidence.



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