“Nominated members” and “Anti-defection Law” in India

Synopsis: The important reason behind the inclusion of nominated members to RajyaSabha and the provisions of Anti-defection Law.


Recently a nominated MP of Rajya Sabha has resigned due to allegations under the anti-defection law. The allegation raised after a political party nominated him as their election candidate.

Constituent Assembly debate on Nominated members:

During the making of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly felt that Rajya Sabha should have nominated members. They want to bring in the persons who might not win elections but willing to bring knowledge and expertise to discussions in the Upper House.

N Gopalswami Ayyangar said that nominating members to Rajya Sabha gives “an opportunity to the Upper House to bring outside talent in discussions and debate. Further, the nominated members will bring in the persons who do not ordinarily associate with the House of the People.

Nominated Members to the Rajya Sabha:

Due to the fore mentioned reasons, Rajya Sabha includes 12 nominated members from different walks of life. The criteria include distinguished fields like literature, science, art, and social service, etc.

The President nominates such individuals as recommended by the Council of Ministers. Except the voting in the election of the President, Nominated members will have the same rights and privileges as elected members. (Nominated members cannot vote in the election of the President).

What is the Anti-Defection Law?

After Independence, there were many times the state governments were toppled due to MLAs changed their political loyalties. This occurred to the Centre also in 1967. So, to reduce that, in 1985 the government amended the Constitution to include the Tenth Schedule. It is popularly known as the anti-defection law.

Salient features of Anti-defection Law:

The aim of the Anti-defection Law was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political loyalties.

Even though the Upper House has no role in deciding the present government’s dissolution. Anti-defection law applies equally to both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs. Similarly, the Anti-defection law applies to the State Legislative Assemblies.

The Anti-defection Law deprives the parliamentary/state legislative membership for the violations of the provisions. As per the Anti-defection Law, three scenarios are prescribed as a violation.

Three scenarios mentioned in the Anti-defection Law:

  1. When an elected member “voluntarily gives up” the political party in which he/she got elected. Or when he/she votes in the House contrary to the wishes of the party.
  2. When an independent MP/MLA joins a political party after the election.
  3. When a nominated MP/MLA joins a political party after six month time.
    Note: Nominated Members can join any party of their wish during their first six months.
Judicial intervention on Anti-defection Law:

The courts have interpreted the joining of party many times. The courts held joining or changing a party not only include the formal ones but also include informal ones also.

The court in past mentioned such informal actions as defection. This includes campaigning for another political party, appearing in political rallies or fighting an election on the symbol of a political party, etc

Source: The Indian Express

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