THE CONTROVERSIAL ANTI-DEFECTION LAW OF INDIA: A BANE TO DEMOCRACY?
By Vaishnavi Shukla
The Anti-Defection Law of India was introduced against the backdrop of drastically rising political defections in the 1960s and 70s, to bring political stability, ban floor-crossing and avoid horse-trading practices in politics. The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, by the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985, and further amended by the 91st Amendment Act, 2003, disqualifies a member of a House belonging to any political party from being a member of the House if he gives up the membership of the party voluntarily, or votes or abstains from voting contrary to the directions issued by his political party. However, this law has been utterly unsuccessful in preventing defections in India. On the contrary, it has had a derogatory effect on the institution of Democracy in India. Y.B Chavan had described defections as “a national malady” which was “eating into the very vitals of our democracy”. Ironically, the very law made to preserve our Democracy is now undermining it. The loyalty and accountability of legislators, supposed to be vested with the people is now vested with their parties. The free speech and right to vote of the members is being curbed by this law. The loopholes in the law are being exploited to dissolve governments to form new ones. There is an urgent need to revisit the Tenth Schedule and rectify the lacunae in the law, not only to fulfill the intention behind the Anti-Defection Law but also to protect the rights and principles that lie at the very foundation of what is believed to be the greatest Democracy in the world.
Defection, Anti-Defection Law, Tenth Schedule, Democracy, Political Parties, Dissent, Free Speech.
|Information||Lex Humanitariae: Journal for a Change, Volume II issue IV, Pages 591-598|
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