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With reference to anti-defection law in India, consider the following statements:

  1. The law specifies that a nominated legislator cannot join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House.
  2. The law does not provide any time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation:

  1. The law specifies that a nominated legislator cannot join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House.
    • This statement is incorrect. A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House. This means that he may join any political party within six months of taking his seat in the House without inviting this disqualification.
  2. The law does not provide any time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.
    • This statement is correct. The anti-defection law does not specify a time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea under the Tenth Schedule.

Learn more

  • The anti-defection law was passed by Parliament in 1985 and reinforced in 2002.
  • The law was enacted to ensure that a party member does not violate the mandate of the party and in case he does so, he will lose his membership of the House.
  • The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
  • The Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law,’ was inserted by the 52nd Amendment (1985) to the Constitution.
  • The law deals with situations of defection in Parliament or state legislatures by members of a political party, independent members, and nominated members.
  • The Chairman or the Speaker of the House have absolute power in deciding the cases pertaining to disqualification of members on the ground of defection.
  • The law has been criticized for granting unlimited powers to the presiding officers, which can cause delays in deciding cases in which elected representatives change political loyalties.

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