The Anti-Defection Law

Why in News?

 Recently the Chairman of Rajya Sabha disqualified two Members of Parliament (MPs) from the House under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (better known as the anti-defection law) for having defected from their party.

The Madras High Court is also hearing petitions filed by 18 MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly in September 2017 under the anti-defection law.



Constitutional Provision

The tenth schedule of the Constitution was inserted via the 52nd Amendment Act. As per this, a member incurs disqualification under the defection law if-

i)He voluntarily gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House.

ii)He votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political party.

iii) Any independently elected member joins any political party iv)Any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.

The question of disqualification under the Tenth schedule is decided by the chairman in the case of the Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of the Lok Sabha.


Judicial Review

The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.



Source – PRS