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Maharashtra Speaker’s Dismissal of Disqualification Petitions

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The Speaker of Maharashtra dismissed all petitions seeking the disqualification of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The disqualification under the anti-defection law was rejected by the Speaker.
  • The primary reason cited was the absence of physical service of the whip to the concerned MLAs, coupled with the lack of other valid reasons.
About Whip

In parliamentary language, a whip can refer to:

·       A written order directing party members on a certain course of action.

·       A designated party official authorized to issue such directives.

·       The term originates from the British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to ensure party discipline.

 

About Anti-Defection Law

  • The anti-defection law, encapsulated in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, was introduced by the Constitution (52nd Amendment) Act, 1985.
  • Its purpose is to prevent political defections among elected representatives.

Conditions for Disqualification: Disqualification occurs if a member:

  • Voluntarily gives up party membership.
  • Votes or abstains against the party’s direction, and the party does not condone the act within 15 days.
  • An independent member becomes disqualified upon joining any political party after the election.
  • A nominated member faces disqualification if joining a political party after 6 months from taking the seat.
  • The law permits a political party to merge if at least 2/3rd of its legislators are in favour, with the Speaker having absolute power in deciding such cases.
  • However, in the case of Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachillhu (1992), the Supreme Court held that the Speaker’s decision under the anti-defection law is subject to judicial review.

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