Post-Karnataka, govt for change in anti-defection law
The government favours a change in the anti-defection law to allow the Election Commission to play a crucial role on the issue of disqualification of MPs or MLAs instead of the speaker. Nagendar Sharma reports.delhi Updated: Nov 04, 2010 00:41 IST
The government favours a change in the anti-defection law to allow the Election Commission to play a crucial role on the issue of disqualification of MPs or MLAs instead of the speaker.
The move prompted by the controversy in Karnataka over the disqualification of 16 MLAs of the state assembly by the speaker, will be one of the key areas of proposed electoral reforms.
"We feel the issue of disqualification of members of state assemblies, legislative councils and both houses of parliament should be decided by the governor and president based on the recommendation by the Election Commission," law minister M. Veerappa Moily said.
The law ministry has found support from the Delhi-based organisation, PRS Legislative Research, which specialises in issues related to parliament and new laws coming into existence.
"Several issues such as whether the decision on defections be judged by the speaker who is usually a member of the ruling party or should it be decided by a neutral body like the EC need to be discussed," it has said.
Asked whether the government had the required numbers in Parliament to amend the constitution, Moily said:"We certainly feel the time has come for such an amendment and would be willing to hold consultations with all political parties."
The anti-defection law came into existence in 1985, through the 52nd amendment to the constitution. The Rajiv Gandhi government wanted to curb defections of MPs and MLAs.
Moily, who had made this recommendation earlier in the fifth report of the Administrative Reforms Commission, said the role of presiding officers of assemblies and parliament required a wider debate.
"Some of them have not been able to detach themselves political considerations," he said in hinting at the role played by the Karnataka assembly speaker.
On the Karnataka HC upholding the speaker's decision to disqualify the 11 BJP rebel MLAs, Moily said "the final word had not yet been said, the matter would be decided by the Supreme Court."