The anti-defection law is contained in the 10th
Schedule of the Constitution.
It was enacted by Parliament in 1985. It came
into effect on 1st March 1985.
The purpose of the anti-defection law is to curb
political defection by the legislators. The law applies to both Parliament and
It lays down the process by which legislators
may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a
legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
There are two grounds on which a member of a
legislature can be disqualified: a) if he/she voluntarily gives up the
membership of his/her party and b) if a legislator votes in the House against
the direction of his/her party and his/her action is not condoned by his party.
There is an exception that has been provided in
the law to protect the legislators from disqualification. The 10th Schedule
says that if there is a merger between two political parties and two-thirds of
the members of a legislature party agree to the merger, they will not be