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Rajasthan crisis a reflection on the inadequacies in the anti-defection law: Dr. Shastri

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New Delhi, July 23: The Rajasthan crisis is now playing out in the judiciary. On the face it the Rajasthan crisis can be described as a reflection of the inadequacies in the anti-defection law.

OneIndia caught up with leading psephologist, Dr. Sandeep Shastri to find out his views on the issues.

Rajasthan crisis a reflection on the inadequacies in the anti-defection law: Dr. Shastri

There are several factors involved here. I think, it is the reflection of the inadequacies in the anti-defection law, Dr. Shastri says. Can a member of a party defying the direction of the party be constituted as an act of defection?

Pilot vs Gehlot: Rajasthan HC to pronounce verdict on disqualification notice at 10. 30 am, Friday

The judgment of the Rajasthan High Court to be delivered on Friday, will offer some clarity on what constitutes an act of defection by an elected representative. Are we widening the gamut not just on the floor of the House or also that involves not attending a meeting by the party, Dr. Shastri asks.

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    The anti-defection law was originally conceived to prevent elected representatives from joining another party. After 35 years, the debate is whether this law is about crossing over to another party or defying the decision by his or her own party. Does it mean that there is no room for an alternate point of view, Dr. Shastri says.

    This crisis would also sharpen the debate on the role of the Speaker. The original amendment said that the decision of the presiding officer will be final. The Supreme Court has however said that the decision of a presiding officer can be subject to the scrutiny by the court.

    We saw in Karnataka, the Speaker had disqualified the MLAs and also barred them from contesting the elections for a certain period of time. The Supreme Court however upheld the disqualification, but added that the Speaker could not have barred them from contesting the elections.

    This also raises the larger question as to whether we have enough mechanisms within the political parties for the operation of an internal democracy? Is dissent seen as largely opposing the leadership? The Supreme Court too asked today if there is no room for internal dissent.

    The crisis in Rajasthan will draw out for a long time. If the court were to say that the present act which Sachin Pilot has committed does not amount to defection, then it opens up the flood gates for instability of the government says Dr. Shastri.

    If these members abstain from the floor test, the critical point will be what happens if the Speaker acts after they have disobeyed the whip. Because they have disobeyed the whip, the government falls. Can you disqualify them assuming that they will not take part in the proceedings of the House.

    Rajasthan crisis: After SC setback, Ashok Gehlot readies Plan B to checkmate rebel MLAs

    Moreover even if the court says that the Speaker has acted within his powers, following which the MLAs are disqualified, then they will still challenge it in court. The judiciary has kept the ball in its own court in the tussle within the legislature on the anti-defection law, Dr. Sandeep Shastri points out.

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