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With reference to antidefection law in India, consider the following statements:
1. The law specifies that a nominated legislator cannot join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House.
2. The law does not provide any time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
To tackle the scourge of political defection, in 1969, a committee chaired by Home Minister Y B Chavan examined the issue of defection. It observed that after the 1967 general elections, defections changed the political scene in India as 176 of 376 independent legislators later joined a political party. The next legislative attempt, in 1978, allowed independent and nominated legislators to join a political party once.
With rising public opinion for an anti-defection law, immediately after securing a clear majority in 1984, the Rajiv Gandhi's government proposed the new antidefection bill in the Parliament. After marathon debates, both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha unanimously approved the bill and through the 52nd amendment to the Constitution of India, the Tenth Schedule was inserted into the constitution. The Tenth Schedule contains the following provisions with respect to the disqualification of members of Parliament and the state legislatures on the ground of defection:
Members of Political Parties: A member of a House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House, -if he voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party or
-if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party without obtaining prior permission of such party and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days.
-In the case of ‘voluntarily giving up his membership,' the Supreme Court has interpreted that in the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct. In other judgments, members who have publicly expressed opposition to their party or support for another party were deemed to have resigned.
Thus, a legislator’s speech and conduct inside and outside the legislature can lead to disqualification under the anti -defection law.
Independent Members: An independent member of a House (elected without being set up as a candidate by any political party) becomes disqualified to remain a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
Statement 1 is not correct: Nominated Members: A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House. This means that he may join any political party within six months of taking his seat in the House without inviting this disqualification.
Exceptions: The above disqualification on the ground of defection does not apply in the following two cases: If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such a merger.
If a member, after being elected as the presiding officer of the House, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office. This exemption has been provided in view of the dignity and impartiality of this office.
Statement 2 is correct: The Anti-Defection Law does not specify a time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea. Given that courts can intervene only after the Presiding Officer has decided on the matter, the petitioner seeking disqualification has no option but to wait for this decision to be made.
By: Parvesh Mehta ProfileResourcesReport error
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