Post-independents

The problem of political defections is not new in India. As far back as 1967, the menace of defections had begun to affect our democratic polity. Between the fourth and fifth general elections, there were nearly 2,000 defections. A committee on defections was set up, which in the late-1960s recommended framing a law to address the problem. The anti-defection law was finally passed in Parliament in 1985 with 418 ayes and nil noes.

There is no doubt that the anti-defection law has resulted in a significant lowering of the number of defections. But, most practitioners and analysts of Indian politics recognise the perverse and perhaps unforeseen negative consequences of this law.

The independent MLAs from Karnataka have reportedly expressed a desire to appeal to the SC. The ingenuity of the Indian politician to constantly push boundaries, explore new ways of effecting defections, try to find any possible loophole in the interpretation of the law, will only mean that the courts will continue to consider cases under this law for many years to come.