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Applicability of Anti-defection law for nominated MPs

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Applicability of Anti-defection law for nominated MPs:


Nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta has resigned from Rajya Sabha, a year before completion of his term.

What’s the issue?

The opposition had raised the issue of his disqualification from Rajya Sabha under the anti-defection law because the BJP had fielded Dasgupta as its candidate for Tarakeswar constituency in the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Who are Nominated members?

  • The Rajya Sabha has 12 nominated members from different walks of life.
  • The broad criterion for their nomination is that they should have distinguished themselves in fields like literature, science, art, and social service.
  • The President nominates such individuals as recommended by the Centre.
  • Nominated members have the same rights and privileges as elected members, with one notable difference — they cannot vote in the election of the President.

Anti-defection law:

  • In 1985 the Tenth Schedule, popularly known as the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution.
  • The purpose of the Amendment was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political parties on whose ticket they were elected.
  • The penalty for shifting political loyalties is the loss of parliamentary membership and a bar on becoming a minister.

The law specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by MPs invite action under the law. It covers three types of scenarios with respect to an MP switching parties:

  1. When a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House contrary to the wishes of the party.
  2. When an MP who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate after the election joins a political party.
  3. For nominated MPs, the law specifies that within six months of being nominated to the House, they can choose to join a political party. But, if they join a party thereafter, then they lose their seat in Parliament.


Prelims Link:

  1. Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
  2. Committees vs Commissions.
  3. Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
  4. Merger vs Split of political parties.
  5. Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
  6. Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.

Mains Link:

Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.