EDEN IAS

Eknath Shinde revolts

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS | SENIOR SENA MINISTER EKNATH SHINDE REVOLTS, PUSHES MVA GOVT TO THE BRINK | 22ND JUNE | INDIAN EXPRESS

SYLLABUS SECTION:

WHY IN THE NEWS?

Recently, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s government faced its biggest existential crisis with Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde revolts along with 30-35 party MLAs and Independents.

  • Under the Constitution, a rebel group must have at least two-thirds of the total MLAs of a party.
  • They are in order to break away without attracting punishment under the anti-defection law.

ANTI-DEFECTION LAW AND ITS PURPOSE:

  • The anti-defection law punishes individual MPs/ MLAs for leaving one party for another.
  • It allows a group of MP/ MLAs to join (i.e. merge with) another political party without inviting the penalty for defection.
  • And it does not penalize political parties for encouraging or accepting defecting legislators.
  • Parliament added these provisions to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule in 1985 when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister.
  • Purpose: to bring stability to governments by discouraging legislators from changing parties.
  • It was a response to the toppling of multiple state governments by party-hopping MLAs after the general elections of 1967.

What constitutes defection and who is the deciding authority?

  • The law covers three kinds of scenarios.
  • When legislators elected on the ticket of one political party “voluntarily give up” membership of that party or vote in the legislature against the party’s wishes.
  • When an MP/ MLA who has been elects as an independent member of the House subsequently joins a party.
  • Nominated legislators. can join a political party within six months of being appoints to the House, and not after such time.
  • Violation of the law in any of these scenarios can lead to a legislator being penalize for defection.
  • The Presiding Officers of the Legislature (Speaker, Chairman) are the deciding authorities in such cases.
  • The Supreme Court has held legislators can challenge the decisions of the Presiding Officers before the higher judiciary.
Suggestions to improve the law:
  • Former Vice President Hamid Ansari has suggested that it must apply only to save governments in no-confidence motions.
  • The Election Commission has suggested it, and not the Presiding Officers who are often seen to act in a partisan manner should be the deciding authority in defection cases.
  • Others have argued that the President and governor should hear defection petitions.
  • Last year, the Supreme Court said Parliament should set up an independent tribunal headed by a retired judge of the higher judiciary to decide defection cases swiftly and impartially.

SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS

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