Congress leader from Madhya Pradesh Jaya Thakur has filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking to restrain lawmakers, who have resigned or have been disqualified, from contesting elections for up to five years.
Thakur's plea is more of a reminder to the court for the resumption of the hearing of this matter which was originally filed in 2021. The top court issued notice in January 2021 and sought the Centre's reply on this matter. Thakur told the Supreme Court that the matter is stalled since no reply has been filed yet. She added that the political parties are thus taking advantage of this situation and continue to destroy the elected governments in various states.
Thakur referred to the political turmoil in Maharashtra to buttress her point while seeking the court's urgent intervention.
The ruling coalition government in Maharashtra suffered a shock after Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde rebelled with at least 46 other MLAs from the party along with independents. The government's fate hangs in limbo even as the party leaders in Mumbai and Guwahati—where the rebel leaders are lodged—look for a way out.
Evils of political defection are a matter of national concern: Plea in SC
Jaya Thakur sought the top court's intervention while submitting that the "evils of political defection have been a matter of national concern". In her plea, Thakur highlighted the importance of party politics in a democracy and the requirement to have stability within the government to facilitate good governance.
"We need to keep in mind that the separating line between dissent and defection requires to be made apparent so that democratic values are upheld in balance with other constitutional considerations," she added.
Alluding to the political crisis that hit Karnataka in 2017, Thakur said political parties have recently started a trend where the provisions of anti-defection law is made "redundant and otiose" (producing no meaningful result) by getting the MLAs from ruling parties to resign from the House leading to the fall of the government. "The MLAs who resign are then given ministerial posts by the new government and are also given tickets to re-contest for by-elections," Thakur said.
"In the year 2019, in the State of Karnataka, 17 MLAs who resigned/were disqualified by the Speaker for anti-party activities, sought re-election and 11 of them got reelected. Ten of them got ministerial berths in the new Government that was formed after the earlier government fell," the plea said recapping the crisis.
Such undemocratic practices are making a mockery of our democracy and the Constitution, the plea contended. "The result is that due to this, people of the State are denied stability and the Voters are denied their right to choose and elect representative having a common ideology," it added.