Disqualified lawmakers and by-polls
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Election Commission of India (EC) to respond to a plea to debar legislators, disqualified under the Tenth Schedule, from contesting by-elections during the rest of the tenure of the House.
The Tenth Schedule to the Constitution which was added by (Fifty-second Amendment) Act 1985 is unable to curb political defections motivated by the lure of office or other similar considerations. Critically Analyse.
● The plea comes in the backdrop of recent political events in several states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka in which Members of Legislative Assemblies resign, followed by the collapse of the incumbent government. They surface again as ministers in the new government formed by a rival political party.
● The petition demanded that any person who gives up membership of the party should be barred from holding any office of a Minister or any other remunerative political post until the term of the House expires.
● She argued that Politicians including political parties find out a new path to defeat the motive of the Tenth Schedule by giving resignation from an elected post and choose to join the ruling party and take a ministerial post or any other public office by contesting bye-elections within six months at the cost of the public exchequer.
● The Tenth Schedule lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House. A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the party whip on voting.