recent political crisis in Karnataka has demonstrated the ways in which the
anti-defection law can be used and abused.
anti-defection law is contained in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution. The
10th Schedule was inserted to the Constitution through the 52nd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1985. The anti-defection law is based on the
recommendations of the Y B Chavan committee.
amendment by which the Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution did 3
things: it made legislators liable to be penalised for their conduct both
inside and outside (speeches etc.) the legislature, b) it protected legislators
from disqualification in cases where there was a split (with 1/3rd of members
splitting) or merger (with 2/3rds of members merging) of a legislature party
with another political party and c) it made the Presiding Officer of the
concerned legislature the sole arbiter of defection proceedings.
purpose of the anti-defection law is to curb political defection by the
legislators. The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. It lays
down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of
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.
2003 the anti-defection law was amended to delete the one-third split provision
which offered protection to defectors was deleted.
The anti-defection law has had its loopholes
and has been abused. For example, the n law does not specify a timeframe for
Speakers to decide on defection proceedings. When the politics demanded,
Speakers were either quick to pass judgment on defection proceedings or delayed
acting on them for years on end.