Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday stressed on the need for an amendment to the Anti-Defection Law, making it mandatory for the Speaker/Chairman of Assembly/Council to dispose of petitions on defections within a time frame.
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Constituting special tribunals to deal with election-related petitions and criminal cases against the elected representatives were also necessary, he said. According to Supreme Court records, 4,127 cases, including some of strong criminal nature, were pending against public representatives.
Sharing his views on the political scenario, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu said the anti-defection laws should be implemented in letter and spirit and expeditiously. There was a need for consensus to amend this law and insert time frame clause. “I could dispose of the petitions that I receive within this time-frame.
“Everybody has a right to change the party. But after changing the party, by evening, one should quit the position that came because of it. This is not happening in most States,” he pointed out.
The legislators and politicians should maintain restraint while speaking about the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister or the Leader of the Opposition. Otherwise, the people might soon lose faith in the political processes and institutions. All efforts should be made towards creation of a cleaner polity.
Also, the political parties should take the State’s finances into consideration before making tall promises and announcing freebies. People too must ensure that persons with the right antecedents were elected. They should elect their representatives based on conduct, calibre, capacity and character, but not on caste, region or religion. “You [people] have the power to change.”
The 10th Schedule to the Indian Constitution popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law’ was inserted by the 52nd Amendment (1985) to the Constitution.
‘Defection’ has been defined as, “To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group”.
The anti defection law was enacted to ensure that a party member do not violate the mandate of the party and in case he do so he will be disqualified from participating in the election.
The Anti-Defection Law allows Parliament to announce those members defected who oppose or do not vote in line with party’s decision.
The aim of Anti-Defection Law is to prevent members of Parliament to change parties for any personal motive.
Grounds for disqualification:
If an elected member voluntarily gives up his membership of a political party
It he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party.
If any independently elected member joins any political party.
If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.
The decision on questions are to disqualification on ground of defection is referred to the chairman or the Speaker of such House, and his decision is final.
All proceedings in relation to disqualification under this Schedule are deemed to be proceedings in Parliament or in the Legislature of a state.