Saturday, April 08, 2006

Anti-Defection Law-Time to Change it?

I was following the various bills that come before US Congress & Senate and how members vote. They vote based on the bill and never along party lines. The concept of “party whip” as practiced in India is non-existent in US Congress or Senate.

In India once you are elected to the parliament on a party ticket, you are bound to vote the way party tells. The parliamentarians (equivalent to Congressman in US) are not allowed to vote based on issues even if he is personally against/for the issue. He has to obey the party or else he will loose his membership from parliament.

The concept of party whip came into being in 1980’s with the passing of Anti-Defection Bill. This bill was passed mainly to prevent the frequent switching sides of parliamentarians to various parties (in most cases greed for money and power plays a big role).

I am a strong believer that provision of “party whip” is not a good idea at all. Yes I agree, the concept of “Aya Ram, Gaya Ram” (term used in Indian politics to represent those elected representatives switching loyalty often) should be stopped under any cost. Doing that by issuing party whip does more harm than good.

Suppose a ruling party MP feels that the budget presented for this financial year does more harm to the people who elected him than good. In that case he should vote against the budget so that it gets defeated and his people are not affected. Now if he does that now, he automatically loses his membership from parliament.

If anti-defection law was to prevent frequent floor crossing, I think it can be implemented in a more efficient way. I believe that India should put a limit to the number of times a person can contest election to become MP/MLA and also number of times he can be sworn in as Minister/Chief Minister. If we look back most of the floor crossing are for temporary gains (Charan Singh Government, Chandrasekhar Government). If we set a time limit for each post then most of them will resist the temptation of crossing over for temporary gains. Or may be we have another better option. I don’t know. But I know one thing.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

US follows a presidential democracy which is entirely a different system from the Indian democracy.

April 08, 2006 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

US is a Republic , India is a Democracy . Democracy , Majority counts where as in Republic system ,individual is as important as a group.There is a big difference.

April 09, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its high time you start using a pair of spectacles (make sure they have convex lens). If allowed to vote according to their will, most of them would chose to vote against most budget proposals as part of some publicity stunt.. Just think abt it.. How many MPs do you think have a coherent understanding of the long term benefits of the current economic policies?? They would vote against most of them (lower subsidies, privatisation ete etc)..
And its good to know the strengths of the presidential democracy, but its also important to think how those can be incorporated into India's parliamentary form of government. Until then you are comparing apples to oranges.. Just remember that their similarity ends with the fact that they are both fruits!!!!

April 09, 2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please note the correction in my previous comment- your lens should be concave.. because you seem to have acute myopia!!! :))..

April 09, 2006 4:05 PM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

I don't know much about government. But from what I know, I believe anon1 and 2 are right.

April 11, 2006 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess its an issue with the wording in anon2's comments. Both US and India are democracies. US follows presidential form of government (also called presidential republic), where president is the head of state and head of government. He cannot be removed by a vote of confidence.In India we follow the parliamentary system where the head of government is the prime minister and the head of state is the President. The powers of the executive and legislative branches are not clear cut. And the government can be removed by a vote of confidence.

I think "flutteringeyes" should familiarize herself with some of these stuffs.. might come in handy..

April 11, 2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

duh, I knew that. I am just saying I am not too much into politics.....I obviously don't know everything about the government but I do realize how kinda government US and India is. :-)

April 12, 2006 12:39 AM  
Blogger flutteringeyes said...

I meant what kinda government india and US is

April 12, 2006 12:39 AM  
Blogger Brijesh said...

@anon1-I know the difference but I was just commenting about my thought on anti defection law.

@anon2-Can u make that clear. Since I read this post i am confused. India is both democaratic and republic, right?

@anon3- I think u got me wrong. In the present system if a party brings in some proposals for some publicity stunt the MPs are bound to support it. Take the case of reservation for OBC's for which the UPA government brought an ordinance. A ruling party MP if he wants to oppose it cannot do it just because he was elected in Congress ticket doesnt make sense to me.

Flutteringeyes- Thanks for the comments.

@anon4-good observations

April 12, 2006 4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Soni,

I totally agree with ur observation....But i think we need to have a rethink not only on anti-defection law...but almost all the outdated, irrelevant laws created more than a century old...especially that of IPC, CrPC.....and many others....including many after independence like official languages act....where in a lot of money is spent merely for the sake of creating a verbal and paper explosions.....Vinod...Bhopal...

April 14, 2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is in response to "your response" to the "reader comments". I believe that at every stage of decision making the elected members have a role to play. I am assuming that they have discussions at various levels (cabinet, the party forums etc etc), prior to moving a bill before the parliament. In my opinion, the MPs from a particular party should express their concerns and suggestions at the more basic levels rather than wait to vote against it in Parliament. Its like resolving a family issue in the market place.. And of course, the concept of majority votes at each level is the bane and boon in any democracy!!

April 16, 2006 9:29 AM  

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