Anti-defection law of India states that "A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote."

In a case of say, 2 or 3 legislators from a specific geographical area are having different views from their party on some particular issue based on their area's socio-cultural history but NOT different views on the party's ideology.

Now, if in the public, the discussion comes up, what should there stand be ? Will they be considered to be defective if they speak for their people instead for their party on THAT particular issue ? How much of personal freedom of speech of legislators is lost due to this provision in the Anti-defection law?

I feel that this provision of the law restricts the legislator's views to be heard and only the upper members of the party has the say on any issue. This is my understanding after reading about the law but I want to know how strongly the provision hinders personal opinions of the legislators.

1 Answer 1


I'm going to assume you're referring to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which reads as follows:

  1. Disqualification on ground of defection.

(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 4 [party mergers] and 5 [Speaker], 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.

The law in question only applies on votes in either the National Parliament or a State Legislature. It does not prohibit an MP from speaking as much as they like against their party line, but when it comes to an actual vote, they must vote with the party.

  • 1
    In 1994 SC of India had given a judgement that "voluntary give up" does not only include voluntary resignation but also "the conduct of the legislator". So, this puts bar on the legislator's "party against conduct" refer: indiankanoon.org/doc/554446 point 11 Aug 23, 2019 at 0:03

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