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Anti-Defection Law


“Despite the Anti-Defection Law in force, Horse Trading continues unabated in Indian politics.”  Discuss.
Changing of political parties had been the most common occupation of some of the politicians in the country till 1985.  Fifty Second Constitutional Amendment was given effect in 1985, which amended the earlier provisions under Articles 101, 102, 190 and 191 of the Constitution. Popularly known as Anti-Defection Law, this amendment sought to remedy the position as it stood in the year 1985.
 
Anti-defection Law was aimed at cleansing the Indian political scene by stopping the practice of defections which had become very common at that point of time. It was expected that the practice of Horse Trading would vanish after the Amendment.
 
But the political situation changed drastically during the past about 15 years. The days of clear majority to any political party at national level have gone. It is only through the coalitions that the successive governments are being formed. This is being achieved through pre-election and post election alliances between various political parties. The Constitution does not provide any guidelines for forging such alliances before or after the polling. As a result, such alliances are again open to unethical bargaining at the time of forming the government, as well as afterwards.
 
It is therefore felt by many that considering the dynamics of situation, and that political coalitions have become the order of the day and are likely to continue for quite some time in the future, the following changes in the existing legal framework are required.
 
(a) Prescribe a detailed procedure and regulation for pre-election and post-election political coalitions; (b) Pre-election coalition should be in the form of a written agreement, violation of which should attract the penalties as provided in Anti-defection Law; (c) Any member outfit of a pre-election coalition should have a commitment to support the coalition government at least for a period of three years; (d) Political partners deciding to join the coalition after the elections should only be allowed to support the government from outside and should not be allowed to be part of the government. The condition of three years’ mandatory support should be applicable to them also.

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