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10th Schedule Anti Defection Law, Provisions under Tenth Schedule [UPSC Indian Polity]

The Indian Constitution’s 10th Schedule discusses anti-defection. Read the 10th schedule’s additional provisions, including the definition of anti-defection. Learn about parliamentary and state legislative principles like the Tenth Schedule Anti defection Law. For IAS Mains (GS 2) 2023, get the PDF of the 10th schedule notes.

Anti defection, Role of Speaker, and the 10th Schedule

Anti-defection is a notion that was added to the Indian Constitution with the 52nd Amendment. Its goal is to stop legislators from changing parties without the consent of their voters. The Constitution’s 10th Schedule outlines the criteria for disqualifying a legislator for defection. The anti-defection statute is heavily enforced by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Speaker of a state assembly.

These concepts are important for UPSC aspirants who are preparing for the General Studies Paper-II. Polity forms a major chunk of the questions asked in this paper, and the concepts described in this article are all related to recent developments in Indian politics. Therefore, they are relevant for the IAS Mains exam.

Anti Defection Law

The 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution was enacted in 1985 to prevent political defections. Defection is defined as the act of abandoning one’s political party and joining another. The Anti Defection Law aims to prevent MPs from switching parties for any personal motive, such as the lure of office or material benefits.

anti defection law article upsc
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The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. If an MP defects, they can be disqualified from their seat by the Speaker of the House. The Speaker will consider a number of factors when making a decision, including the reasons for the defection and the impact it will have on the stability of the government.

See Also: Chandrayaan 3 | Chandrayaan Mission 14 July 2023 [UPSC Notes]

Several people have argued that the Anti-Defection Legislation is overly onerous. They contend that it restricts MPs’ right to voice their own thoughts and cast conscience-based votes. However the rule has also been credited for aiding in the decline of political defectors in India.

Here are some additional details about the Anti Defection Law:

  • The law applies to all elected members of Parliament and state assemblies, including those who are independents.
  • An MP can be disqualified for defection if they:
    • Voluntarily give up their membership of the party they were elected on.
    • Vote or abstain from voting in a way that is contrary to the direction of their party.
    • Join another political party without the permission of their original party.
  • The Speaker of the House is responsible for deciding whether or not an MP has defected.
  • If an MP is disqualified for defection, they will lose their seat in Parliament or the state assembly.

The Anti Defection Law has been controversial since its inception. However, it remains an important part of the Indian political system, and it has helped to reduce the number of defections in recent years.

10th Schedule – Provisions under Anti Defection Law

The Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, also known as the Anti Defection Law, outlines the grounds on which an elected member of Parliament (MP) or Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) can be disqualified.

The following are the grounds for disqualification under the Tenth Schedule:

  • Voluntarily giving up membership of a political party.
  • Voting or abstaining from voting in the House contrary to any direction issued by his/her political party.
  • Joining a political party after being elected as an independent candidate.
  • Joining a political party after being nominated as an MP or MLA.

The Speaker or Chairman of the House, whose judgment is final, decides whether or not to disqualify an MP or MLA on the grounds of desertion. The state legislature or Parliament, depending on the situation, is deemed the venue for any procedures involving disqualification under the Tenth Schedule.

In an effort to stop the rising number of political defections at the time, the Tenth Schedule was created in 1985. Since the law’s creation, some have claimed that it restricts MPs’ and MLAs’ ability to voice their own viewpoints. However the rule has also been credited for aiding in the decline of political defectors in India.

Anti Defection Law: Exceptions and Decision-Making Process


  • Merger of two parties
  • Resignation from party by a chairman or speaker
  • Split of a party (no longer allowed)

Deciding Authority

  • The presiding officer of the House decides on questions regarding disqualification arising out of defection.

Is the decision of the Presiding Officer subject to judicial review?

  • Yes, the decision of the presiding officer can be challenged in court.
  • The Supreme Court held that the presiding officer should function as a tribunal while deciding a question under the 10th Schedule.
  • However, there is no time limit within which the presiding officer must decide.

How have the Courts interpreted the law while deciding on related matters?

  • The SC has interpreted the phrase “voluntarily gives up his membership” to mean more than just resignation.
  • The SC has also held that members who have publicly expressed opposition to their party or support for another party can be considered as having resigned.

Does the anti defection law affect legislators’ ability to make decisions?

  • Yes, the anti defection law can limit a legislator’s ability to vote according to their conscience, judgment, and electorate’s interests.
  • This is because political parties issue directions to their MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue.
  • The law also breaks the link between the elected legislator and their elector.

Recommendations for Reforming the Anti Defection Law

Dinesh Goswami Committee

  • The Dinesh Goswami Committee recommended that disqualification should be only for cases such as:
    • A member giving up the membership of his political party voluntarily.
    • A member voting or abstaining from voting opposed to party directions.

Law Commission 170th Report

  • The Law Commission 170th Report recommended that the following changes be made to the Anti Defection Law:
    • The exemption in case of splits and mergers should be deleted.
    • Pre-poll electoral fronts should be considered as one party under the 10th Schedule.
    • Parties should issue whips only on critical situations or votes.

Election Commission

  • The Election Commission recommended that the President/Governor should be the decision-maker with respect to disqualification, subject to binding advice from the Election Commission.

So, in above article we got to know that In order to maintain transparency and accountability in a democracy, the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, popularly known as the Anti Defection Law, needs to be regulated. When the administration becomes more stable, corruption should decline and lawmakers’ and parliamentarians’ attention will be directed toward good governance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Anti Defection Law UPSC

    The Anti-Defection Law, also known as the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, was enacted in 1985 to prevent elected representatives from switching parties. It aims to maintain the stability of the government and prevent horse-trading.

  2. What is Article 102 of Indian Constitution?

    Article 102 of the Indian Constitution deals with disqualifications for membership of either House of Parliament. It lists a number of reasons why a person may be disqualified from being a member of Parliament, such as holding an office of profit under the government, being convicted of a crime, or being of unsound mind.

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