Whether Dissent Equals Defection in the Indian Parliament?

14 Pages Posted: 29 May 2010

See all articles by Jeet Chaudhuri

Jeet Chaudhuri

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 27, 2010


This paper is in response to a Private Member’s Bill filed recently in the Lok Sabha by Congress MP Manish Tiwari. It seeks to justify why such an amendment to the Tenth Schedule, as put forth by Mr. Tiwari is required. The present article also investigates why a member despite there being no right to dissent does not contest elections as an Independent.

It concludes that, Section 2(b) of the Tenth Schedule, puts the Member of Parliament into the straight jacket of obedience to the despotic dictates of the party whips which undermines the democratic spirit. It also violates the principle of representative democracy by empowering the party, and undermining the relationship between elected representatives and their constituents. The anti defection law makes a mockery of parliamentary democracy by marginalizing debates, as the legislators are not allowed to dissent, without being disqualified by the House. Disruptions, rather than substantive debate, become the only form of opposition possible. Parliamentary debate has thereby become largely redundant. Without letting Indian politics degenerate like this, the author supports the proposed amendment so that our politicians can be allowed to publicly and legitimately debate political ideology, negotiate electoral prospect and be persuaded by ideas.

Keywords: Tenth Schedule, Indian Constitution, Manish Tiwary, Anti Defection, Right to Dissent

Suggested Citation

Chaudhuri, Jeet, Whether Dissent Equals Defection in the Indian Parliament? (May 27, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1616520 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1616520

Jeet Chaudhuri (Contact Author)

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