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Anti defection law UPSC NOTE


  • With the defection of MLA M. Sanjay Kumar, who represents the Jagtial constituency in Telangana, from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) to the ruling Congress, the strength of the principal Opposition has come down from 39 to 33 in the State Assembly. 

  • Despite winning 63 of the 119 Assembly seats, Telangana’s first Chief Minister, the BRS’s K. Chandrasekhar Rao, effected a series of defections across the political opposition, until he was able to garner a brute majority of 90 MLAs and the dissolution of the State unit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) by the end of his first term in office in 2018. 

  • Such defections, much like the current case, violated the 10th Schedule of India’s 1985 Anti Defection Law, which was amended in 2003 to provide an exception to disqualifications if the defectors formed two-thirds of a party and merged with another party

  • This rule and the absolute power vested with the Speaker of the Assembly and the Chair of the Council to decide on members’ disqualifications, without setting any time limit to do so, have often rendered the law ineffective. 

  • The Telangana Assembly Speaker is the ruling party’s Vikarabad MLA, Gaddam Prasad Kumar. 

  • While he must serve in the interest of fostering principled democratic practices, seldom have Speakers, in the States or at the Centre, risen above their party’s diktats.

  • The Telangana Chief Minister, A. Revanth Reddy, has been accused of attempting defections in the past, the most infamous being his attempt in 2015 

  • These defections go against the spirit of participatory democracy, where the existence of a strong Opposition enhances governance and acts as a check on unilateral decisions taken by the ruling government. 

  • The experience of the past 10 years, both in New Delhi and in Hyderabad, has made apparent the dangers of parties with brute majorities. 

  • With a stronger Opposition at the Centre in 2024, perhaps it is time to seek more amendments to the anti-defection law. 

  • Prescribing a timeline for Speakers and Chairpersons to decide on disqualifications might not be enough; the power must be vested with an independent Election Commission.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Anti defection law UPSC NOTE
Anti defection law UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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