The most fundamental question about defection is whether it is a legal matter or a matter of political morality? The solution of this problem is to be found by answering this question. Unfortunately, defection has been made a purely legal matter in India, so this problem is getting serious day by day and it is also becoming established that it cannot be solved through law. Anyway, in India, whatever comes within the purview of law becomes beyond morality. As soon as it comes under the purview of the law, it gets entangled in such a way that it becomes impossible to solve it. Just like the issue of defection is entangled. The latest developments in Maharashtra have re-emerged many questions related to it.
The first and foremost question is, who has the right to decide the disqualification of MLAs? The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, also known as the Defection Act, clearly states that the disqualification of MLAs will be decided by the Speaker and in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker. But the question of whether he will be able to decide if a no-confidence motion is pending against the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker is not the answer. This question has been raised by the developments in Maharashtra as two independent MLAs supporting the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs have given notice of no-confidence motion against the Deputy Speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. After this, the rebel MLAs challenged the disqualification notice given by the Deputy Speaker in the Supreme Court on this basis. The Supreme Court also reversed the deputy speaker’s decision and gave the rebel MLAs two weeks to respond. So, there is a question as to whether the Supreme Court can interfere with the Speaker’s or the Deputy Speaker’s decision even before the disqualification is decided? It should be expected that if the matter is heard in the Supreme Court on July 11, then there will be a clear answer.
But it is certain that whatever is the decision of the Supreme Court or whatever is written in the Constitution or any law made by the Parliament, it cannot stop defection, if morality and chastity is not restored in politics. . The question of morality and correctness is a big one. In today’s context, his restoration in politics is an impossible goal. But not long passed, when it was considered very comfortable in politics. Even when there was no anti-defection law, the leaders used to spend their lives in the same party. The example of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna is that when she had differences with the all-powerful Indira Gandhi in 1981 and left the Congress, she also resigned from the Lok Sabha seat despite no law compulsion. He contested the by-elections and won from his traditional seat of Garhwal despite all the efforts of Indira and Sanjay Gandhi. The example of a few days ago is that of Bihar leader Digvijay Singh, who left the JD(U) and resigned from the Rajya Sabha and won the Banka Lok Sabha seat by contesting as an independent. This means that the people who showed moral strength were respected by the people in the past and still do today.
However, think what has changed now that despite not having a defection law earlier, leaders used to live in the same party or with the same ideology and now parties are changing like clothes? The biggest change that has happened is that ideology has disappeared in politics. There are some exceptions but the parties and leaders do not have ideology left. The second change that has taken place is that politics is no longer a medium of social service, but has become a medium to gain power and wealth. It has become a means to achieve a life of limitless power, immeasurable wealth and luxury. Therefore both the parties and the leaders have become corrupt in their conduct. It is not surprising that it was the most corrupt or the most victim of defection was the party which remained in power for the longest time. The one who has less pleasure in power still has some ideology or morality left in him.
Therefore, unless morality is restored and ideological insistence is not strengthened, defection cannot be stopped on the basis of law alone. It has been proved by many past experiences that some way or the other to escape the law is found. There is a provision in the anti-defection law that if any MP or MLA votes against the party’s whip, then his membership will go away, but if two-thirds of the MPs or MLAs go with another party by violating the party whip, then they will be punished for defection. The law will not apply. One way to escape the anti-defection law is for the MP or MLA to resign from his seat. Apart from this, one way to escape the defection law is by coercion. Whoever holds the power keeps the decision pending. Like, two Trinamool Congress MPs – Shishir Adhikari and Sunil Mandal – have gone with the BJP but even after a lapse of more than a year, the speaker has not decided on their disqualification. Similarly, BJP MLA Mukul Roy has switched to Trinamool but the Speaker of the Assembly has not decided on his disqualification. Apart from this, there are many complicated and cross-cutting avenues from which MLAs or MPs have been avoiding the anti-defection law.
Some people have suggested that a law should be made that if the winning MP or MLA from a party defection, he will have to resign and contest again. But what will happen? This is what happened in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. The MLAs who won from Congress left the party, resigned and the government fell. Later he won the BJP ticket and reached the assembly and became a minister. One piece of advice is to ban the defecting MP or MLA for at least one election. That is, if he is a member of the Lok Sabha, then he should not be allowed to contest again in that Lok Sabha and if he is an MLA then he should not be allowed to contest in that assembly. But even this will not matter because even today if the leaders are disqualified due to any reason, then they contest their son, daughter, wife or any other relative.
Only then it is certain that until the morality and sanctity of conduct of political parties and leaders is not restored, defection will not stop. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that if he gets power by defection, he will not like to touch it even with tongs. Unless this feeling comes in the leaders and the perception of power as everything in politics does not change, then nothing will happen from the law.