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Explained: Anti-defection law’s role in Maharashtra’s political crisis

As the Maharashtra Political Crisis brought the focus back on the anti-defection law in India, we have decided to tell you more about the law.

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New Delhi: The political crisis in Maharashtra started after a few MLAs of Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde announced not to support the current coalition government. Shinde went on to claim that as many as 50 MLAs are in his camp and they are against the coalition of Shiv Sena with the NCP and the Congress.

Amid the ongoing political crisis, you may have encountered a term, called anti-defection law. A few days ago, Deputy speaker Narhari Zirwal issued a notice of anti-defection law to 16 MLAs, including Shinde.

However, the rebel leaders have been given relaxation to reply to the notice by July 12. As the Maharashtra Political Crisis brought the focus back on the anti-defection law in India, we have decided to tell you more about the law:

What is anti-defection law?

The anti-defection law was brought to prevent easy political defection in the constitution by the Rajiv Gandhi government through the 52nd constitutional amendment in 1985. The law says a group of lawmakers can only leave the party to join other party when they have the support of at least two-thirds of the total MLAs of the original party.

In the case of Maharashtra political crisis, rebel MLAs leader Eknath Shinde need the support of at least two-third of Shiva Sena’s tally of 55 MLAs to avoid the implication of the law that is 37 MLAs of the party.

Deciding authority in anti-defection law

Whether the legislators have violated the rule of anti-defection law, it is decided by the Presiding Officers of the Legislatures, the Chairman or the Speaker.

Purpose of the anti-defection law

The anti-defection law was introduced after various state governments lost majority in the assembly due to defections of MLAs after the 1967 general elections.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee government amended Anti-defection law?

Initially, the law proposes to allow even one-third of party members in the assembly or Parliament to leave and join another party. However, the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government decided to make the law more strict.

 

That’s why, the Vajpayee government br0ught the 91st Constitutional amendment in 2003, requiring the support of at least two-third of the party members to evade from the anti-defection charges.

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