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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

8-September-2023

Q1) Anti-defection law helps in maintaining political stability, but many times it failed to hold accountability of parliamentary democracy. Comment

Answer:

The Anti defection law was added by 52nd Amendment Act which added 10th Schedule to the constitution and provided that the legislators of parliament and state assemblies may be disqualified on grounds of defection from one political party to another.

Role of Anti Defection law in maintaining political stability:

  • Creates Political stability- The Act provides for stability for governments by preventing shifts of party allegiance and prevents the “Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram” problems due to attraction of ministerial position or other pecuniary or non-pecuniary offers from other parties.
  • Strengthened democracy – It strengthens political democracy by discouraging post-poll changes.
  • Make MPs responsible – It makes the Member of Parliament more responsible and loyal to political parties and their agenda.
  • Upholding the mandate of electorates – The provision upholds the trust of Citizens who elect their representatives based on their political manifesto.
  • Strengthen party politics: The provision strengthens party politics, e.g. disqualification on the ground of voting against whip.
  • Prevent corruption- The provision aims to prevent corruption in politics by preventing horse trading, such as recently seen in Madhya Pradesh etc.,
  • Allows the ideological differences – The provisions accepts genuine ideological differences in a party through ‘splits’, which was added through 91st Amendment Act. 

Failure of Anti Defection law in upholding accountability of Parliamentary Democracy:

  • Against right to speech: Disqualification of MPs or MLAs for their individual stand on any issue against party whip goes against the right to speech enjoyed by the legislators in the house.
  • Undermine representative democracy: The law undermines representative democracy and empowers political parties who neither have inner-party democracy nor constitutional accountability.
  • No incentive: The provision discourages MPs or MLAs to understand the policies and their outcomes, who have to follow their party line.
  • Questionable role of Speaker: Speaker is the final deciding authority for disqualification, and questions have been raised on the role of Speaker w.r.t. biasedness and timeframe for the action.
  • Lack of effectiveness of the law: The law has been ineffective in preventing horse trading and has given way to a problem of ‘resort politics’.

Recommendations –

  • Supreme Court: It has suggested that the question of defection should be heard by a tribunal led by a retired judge of the higher judiciary to decide cases in a transparent way efficiently.
  • Intra -Party Democracy: There is a need to strengthen intra-party democracy by providing for elections within the parties for higher offices.
  • Dinesh Goswami Committee: The disqualification should be decided by the President or Governor on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • Law Commission (170th report): Political parties should limit issuance of whip to instances where the government is in danger and also the pre-poll alliances should be considered one political party under anti-defection law.
  • Constitution review commission: Defectors should be barred from any public office for the rest of their terms and the vote cast by the defector to topple the government should be treated as invalid.

Conclusion –

Thus, the defection of legislators is a political problem and the solution to this should be political with provision for inner-party democracy. At the same time, the Speaker should act on the cases of defection within the spirit outlined in the Kihoto Hollohan case.

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