The parliament of India enacted the Anti-Defection Law in 1985.

The stated purpose was


The evil of political defections has been a matter of national concern. If it is not combated, it is likely to undermine the very foundations of our democracy and the principles which sustain it. With this object, an assurance was given in the Address by the President to Parliament that the Government intended to introduce in the current session of Parliament an anti-defection Bill. This Bill is meant for outlawing defection and fulfilling the above assurance.

The provisions it laid were

Disqualification on ground of defection.-

(1)  Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of  the House-

(a) if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such  political party; or

(b) if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority authorised by it in this behalf,   without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such   political party, person or authority and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by such political party, person or authority within  fifteen days from the date of such voting or abstention

Does a provision like this have respect and space in what are legitimate concerns of a democracy?

How far from or close to the ideal of democracy is a provision like anti-defection or any whip like article?

My concern is such provisions take away the agency and conscience from an MP, and make him just another point in the number game. It makes the system very hard to evolve from party-based democracy to issues based democracy. When the whole discussion is about what party to elect, there is little space for what direction should we as a people take? and the process is prone to slip in identity politics, and portion of the power pie politics, which is at its worst a form of feudalism.

The institution of whip in Britain works quite non-invasively in comparison, and whip pressures(and how you bear them) are a part of inner party workings rather than being instituted in the law.

  • 1
    "How far from or close to the ideal of democracy is a provision like anti-defection or any whip like article?" Any value of measured distance would probably be quite subjective or must carefully be defined before stating anything about such a distance. Oct 25, 2018 at 11:24
  • Was there a particular problem which gave rise to this Act? For example were there candidates who secretly supported party A, joining party B and standing under as party B candidates and them, immediately once elected, switching to party A?
    – Nemo
    Dec 27, 2021 at 17:44
  • Yes, it was in response to Parlimentarieans being elected under one party and then switching to another (sometimes in a principled manner, but at other times apparently for personal or professional gain)
    – James K
    Dec 27, 2021 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


It models how many people choose to vote: for a particular party, uncaring of the specific representative.

It does not stop an MP from changing party, but it requires that they resign their seat and fight a by-election to do so.

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    which means you lose most of the pluses of FPTP
    – user19831
    Oct 24, 2018 at 11:28

WHIP in the context of India is related to politics during voting. If suppose there are two political parties in the country. One party want to support a bill and the other party want to reject or deny the bill. If a person from the later party want to support the bill then he cannot do this in his discretion because party's Whip is binding him not to support the bill..

I told whip is binding that means if you are not following the party's advice then you are to be challenged in the court and the court disqualifies you..

Remember, during the election of President's office whip is not followed that is it is not binding you and moreover you can give preference according to your wish..

This whip is beneficial to a democratic country because being a party member if you are not following the words of party i.e., the collective decision then people get confused whether in the coming election they have to elect this party or the other.

  • "...following the words of party..." The question would be who defines the words of the party if not the elected MPs. The party members maybe but there may be less party members than voters for the party. The party leader alone by himself? And what if there is no consensus within a party? If half of the supporters of that party support one view and the other half another view but the issue may not really be that important that you want to split the party over it. Oct 25, 2018 at 11:29

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