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.
IT IS HIGH TIME WE TAKE A SECOND LOOK ON SOME PROVISIONS OF ANTI- DEFECTION LAW