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Q.1) What is Anti-Defection law in India.  Discuss the arguments against Anti-Defection law? (GS-2)

Anti-Defection law in India:

  • The 10th Schedule to the Indian Constitution, popularly referred to as the ‘Anti-Defection Law’ was inserted by the 1985 Amendment (52nd) to the Constitution.
  • It defines defection and disqualification in order to get rid of evil of political defection in lure of political advantage and lure of office, which certainly pose a threat on the essence of parliamentary system that is stability.
  • ‘Defection’ has been defined as, “To abandon a position or association, often to join an opposing group”.

Arguments against Anti-Defection law:

  • Legislators often argue that defection is a matter of choice and as individuals they have a right to decide who to support.
  • Several democracies have not adopted an anti-defection law, even though legislators often switch to the other side.
  • In the U.K., Australia and the U.S., parliamentarians and senators often take positions contrary to their parties or vote against the party’s view, yet continue within the same party.
  • Legislators should be allowed to express their own views and a defection law amounts to curtailment of the delegate’s freedom of choice.
  • Anti-Defection goes against the basis of a representative democracy in which the elected representative is expected to act in public interest
  • The anti-defection law breaks the link between the elected representative and his electors.
  • Critics argued that Anti-Defection law prevents individual defections and sanctions mass defection, in the name of mergers.
  • Does not regulate the activities of MPs outside the House.

Q.2) Why Indian Constitution is said to be federal in form, but unitary in spirit? (GS-2)

Indian Constitution is said to be federal in form, but unitary in spirit . India is more like a Canadian Federation than USA federation. The states in US came together and formed a country whereas India formed states after the country got freedom.

Although the word ‘federation’ is no where used in the Indian constitution all the structural features of a federal government were incorporated.

  1.  Dual system of Government: The Indian constitution provides for dual system of government consisting of a federal or union government and a number of state governments, and distributes powers between both the governments.
  2.  Supremacy of the constitution: Further, the constitution is supreme and both the governments desire their powers from it. This legal supremacy of the constitution is maintained by the Supreme Court which is vested with the power to interpret the constitution and declare any act of the union or state governments which violates the provisions of the constitution as null and void.

The Centre was made more powerful as is revealed from the following facts:

  • Single citizenship
  • A strong centre
  • Single Constitution for Union and States
  • Centre can change name and boundaries of states
  • Single unified judiciary
  • Unitary in emergencies
  • Common All-Indian Services
  • Inequality of representation in the Council of States
  • Appointment of Governor by President
  • Appointment of the High Court Judges by the President.
  • The office of CAG
  • Special powers of council of state over state list
  • Control over state laws
  • Financial Dependence of states

Conclusion:

In India, the Centre-States relations constitute the core elements of the federalism. The Central Government and State Government cooperate for the wellbeing and safety of the citizens of India. The work together in the field of environmental protection, terror control, family control and socio-economic planning.

The Indian constitution aim at reconciling the national unity while giving the power to maintain state to the State governments. It is true that the union has been assigned larger powers than the state governments, but this is a question of degree and not quality, since all the essential features of a federation are present in the Indian constitution.

Q.3) The Supreme Court recently said the law does not sanction the concept of a woman’s religion getting merged with her husband’s faith after an inter-religion marriage. In the light of the statement discuss what is Special Marriage Act? What were the courts observation in this regard?(GS-2)

The Supreme Court recently said the law does not sanction the concept of a woman’s religion getting merged with her husband’s faith after an inter-religion marriage. The bench said it was only the woman who can decide about her religious identity by exercising her right to choice.

SC made certain observations while hearing a petition filed by a Parsi, who was barred by her community from offering prayers to her dead in the Tower of Silence for the sole reason that she married a Hindu under the Special Marriage Act.

What is Special Marriage Act?

The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is seen as a statutory alternative for couples who choose to retain their identity in an inter-religious marriage

Bench’s observations

  • There is no law which says that a woman loses religious identity after marrying a man from another faith… Moreover, the Special Marriage Act is there and allows that two persons can marry and maintain their respective religious identities
  • A man marries outside the community and is permitted to retain his religious identity and a woman is not allowed to marry outside and retain her religious identity. How can a woman be debarred
  • it was only the woman who can decide about her religious identity by exercising her right to choice
  • The presumption that a woman changes her religion according to the faith of her husband does not exist if the marriage has been solemnised under the Special Marriage Act
  • the short issue was whether a woman can be allowed to visit and pay respect to her parents after death and asked Subramanium to seek instruction from the Parsi trust and apprise it on December 14, the next date of hearing
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