Q. What is the Tenth Schedule of Indian Constitution?
A. The Tenth Schedule contains article related to Anti-Defection law, it was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act.
1. 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.
2. The decision on question as to disqualification on ground of defection is referred to the Chairman or the Speaker of such House, and his decision is final.
Q. Does law apply to State Legislatures also?
A. Yes, the law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
Q. What are the provisions of disqualification?
A. If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
1. Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
2. Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party.
3. If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
4. If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.
Q. Are there any exceptions under the law?
• The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
• In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
Q.Is the decision of the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review?
A. The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
Q. What are the advantages of anti-defection law:
1. Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.
2. Ensures that candidates remain loyal to the party as well the citizens voting for him.
3. Promotes party discipline.
4. Facilitates merger of political parties without attracting the provisions of Anti-defection
5. Expected to reduce corruption at the political level.
6. Provides for punitive measures against a member who defects from one party to another.