Anti Defection Law, 1985 (10th Schedule)

Rajiv Gandhi government imposed a ban on defection through 52nd amendment act. The act aims to prohibit undemocratic, unethical & unprincipled political defection by members of legislature, by innovation of an instrument of disqualification.

  • A member of parliament or state legislature belonging to any political party, shall be disqualified for being a member of that house if:
  • He voluntarily give up the membership of such political party
  • An independent member joins a political party after being elected
  • A nominated member joins a political party after 6 months
  • A member does not act according to the whips issued by his political party


  • If 1/3rd members of a political party resign from their parent party & form a splinter group
  • If 2/3rd of members of a political party resign from their parent party & merge with another political party



  • Speaker & Deputy Speaker of LS, Deputy Chairman of RS
  • Speaker & Deputy Speaker of LC, Chairman & Deputy Chairman of LA


On subjects of disqualification, decision of chairman / Speaker of the house shall be final. No court shall have jurisdiction under this act wrt members of the house


1991 → SC verdict on Anti Defection Law

  • Decision of presiding officer of the house on question of disqualification shall be final
  • Decision of presiding officer of the legislature are open to judicial review
  • In 1992, court further held that the whip issued by political party is binding on its members, only in case of “Confidence motion, No confidence motion, Money bills & Vote of thanks to President or Governor’s address”.

91st constitutional Amendment act, 2003

  • Act debars a defector from holding any public office for the duration of remaining term of the existing legislature or until fresh elections
  • Size of COMs is to be 15 % max. of lower house at the centre as well as at states. (However, smaller states such as Mizoram, Sikkim etc. would have the liberty of having a minimum of 12 ministers)
  • Seeks to debar a defector from holding any remunerative political post for the remaining tenure of the legislature or unless re-elected
  • Omitted exemption of splinter group law from exemption to Anti defection law
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