TOPIC-2022 Defection Judgement by Bombay HC on Goa
What did the Bombay HC say?
- The High Court of Bombay at Goa in its judgment, delivered on February 25 2022, held that the former members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Goa assembly who had defected to the BJP are exempt from disqualification under paragraph 4(2) of the Constitution’s Tenth Schedule, referred to commonly as the anti-defection law.
What is Anti-Defection Law?
- Instability in India’s political system due to political defections leading to the catchphrase- ‘Aya Ram, Gaya Ram.’
- In 1985, the Rajiv Gandhi government brought a Bill to amend the Constitution and curb defection. The 10th Schedule of the Constitution, which contains the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution through this 52nd Constitution amendment.
Issue in the Judgement
- Paragraph (4) of the Tenth Schedule exempts defectors from disqualification if their original political party merges with another party and two-thirds of the members of that party in the legislature agree with the merger. Ten of the 15 MLAs of the CLP in the Goa Assembly — two-thirds of the party’s strength in the House — had joined the BJP.
- The court said that under sub-paragraph (2) of paragraph (4), the merger of this group of Congress MLAs with the BJP is deemed to be a merger of the original political party (Indian National Congress) with the BJP. Therefore, these members are protected from defection under paragraph (4).
- However, scholars like D.T. Acharyargue against the Bombay HC judgment on the ground that that the concerned legislator to be exempted from disqualification under defection needs to show that two-thirds of his fellow members have agreed to such a merger after the merger takes place.
- Which of the following committees offered suggestions to reform the working of anti-defection law in the country?
1) Dinesh Goswami Committee
2) Halim Committee
3) National Commission to Review Working of Constitution
4) Umesh Sinha Committee
- 1 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 1, 2 and 3 only
- All of the above
- The anti-defection law presents a cure that is worse than the disease. Discuss this statement keeping in mind both the benefits and defects of anti-defection law in India.