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What is a whip?

Topics covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

What is a whip?

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Whip- meaning, need, misuse and the need for reforms.

 

What is it?

A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.

The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line.

 

How is it used?

In India all parties can issue a whip to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip, and he/she is assisted by additional Whips.

 

Kinds of Whips:

A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.

A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.

A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.

 

Defiance of Whip:

In India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk. The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.

 

Importance of whips in our political system:

In the parliamentary form of Government, Whips of various political parties are the vital links of the internal organization of parties, inside the legislatures. The efficient and smooth functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures depends, to a considerable extent, upon the office of the Whip. The Whips can be rightly said to be the managers of the parties within the legislatures.

 

Sources: Indian Express.