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Govt to amend anti-defection law
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | April 23, 2003 23:44 IST
The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to amend the anti-defection law so that parliamentarians and members of legislative assemblies voting against a party whip can be disqualified, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.
After a Cabinet meeting, she said the government would delete Para 3 of Schedule X of the Constitution to make the requisite change.
Right now, a split in a party is legitimate if one third of its members vote against the whip. Various parties have agreed to do away with this provision, she said.
"This has been done to prevent the misuse of the anti-defection law," she said. "Defection was taking place in the garb of a split. Therefore, there was a demand from political parties that this should not be allowed. Split is encouraging bulk defection."
She said the Cabinet also decided that the delimitation of parliamentary seats would be done in accordance with the 2001 census instead of the 1991 census.
Listing out its benefits, she said while the number of Lok Sabha seats would remain the same, the seats reserved for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes would go up from eight in 1991 to 15 in 2001.
"It is being done after 30 years," she said, adding that the government would introduce a bill in the ongoing budget session to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution.
The Cabinet also decided to limit the strength of the council of ministers, she said. In case of a unicameral legislature, she said the strength of the council of ministers would be limited to 10 per cent of the total number of members in the house.
But in the case of a bicameral legislature, the strength of the council of ministers would be 10 per cent of the combined strength of the two houses, she pointed out.However, in case of small legislatures, the maximum number of the council of ministers would be seven, Swaraj added.