THE CONSTITUTION (NINETY-FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 2003
An Act further to amend the Constitution of India.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-
Amendment of article 75.
1. This Act may be called the Constitution (Ninety-first Amendment) Act, 2003.
2. In article 75 of the Constitution, after clause (1), the following clauses shall be inserted, namely:--
Amendment of article 164.
3. In article 164 of the Constitution, after clause (1), the following clauses shall be inserted, namely:-
Insertion of new article 361B.
4. After article 361A of the Constitution, the following article shall be inserted, namely:--
Disqualification for appointment on remunerative political post.
‘361B. A member of a House belonging to any political party who is disqualified for being a member of the House under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule shall also be disqualified to hold any remunerative political post for duration of the period commencing from the date of his disqualification till the date on which the term of his office as such member would expire or till the date on which he contests an election to a House and is declared elected, whichever is earlier.
Explanation:-For the purposes of this article:--
Amendment of the Tenth Schedule.
5. In the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution:-
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
Demands have been made from time to time in certain quarters for strengthening and amending the Anti-defection Law as contained in the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India, on the ground that these provisions have not been able to achieve the desired goal of checking defections. The Tenth Schedule has also been criticised on the ground that it allows bulk defections while declaring individual defections as illegal. The provisions for exemption from disqualification in case of splits as provided in paragraph 3 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India has, in particular, come under severe criticism on account of its destablilising effect on the Government.
2. The Committee on Electoral Reforms (Dinesh Goswami Committee) in its report of May, 1990, the Law Commission of India in its 170th Report on “Reform of Electoral Laws” (1999) and the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) in its report of March 31, 2002 have, inter alia, recommended omission of said paragraph 3 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India pertaining to exemption from disqualification in case of splits. The NCRWC is also of the view that a defector should be penalised for his action by debarring him from holding any public office as a Minister or any other remunerative political post for at least the duration of the remaining term of the existing Legislature or until, the next fresh elections whichever is earlier. It is proposed to accept these suggestions.
3. The NCRWC has also observed that abnormally large Councils of Ministers were being constituted by various Governments at Centre and States and this practice had to be prohibited by law and that a ceiling on the number of Ministers in a State or the Union Government be fixed at the maximum of 10% of the total strength of the popular House of the Legislature.
4. In the light of the above, it is proposed to amend the Constitution by omitting paragraph 3 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India and to provide that the size of the Council of Ministers should not be more than 10% of the strength of House or Houses concerned whether Unicameral or Bicameral. However, in case of smaller States like Sikkim, Mizoram and Goa having 32, 40 and 40 Members in the Legislative Assemblies respectively, a minimum strength of seven Ministers is proposed.
5. The Bill seeks to achieve the objects mentioned above.
Dated: April 26, 2003
EXTRACTS FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
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Provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection
1. Interpretation:-In this Schedule, unless the context otherwise requires:-
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(b) “legislature party”, in relation to a member of a House belonging to any political party in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 or paragraph 3 or, as the case may be, paragraph 4, means the group consisting of all the members of that House for the time being belonging to that political party in accordance with the said provisions.
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2. Disqualification on ground of defection:-
(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House—
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3. Disqualification on ground of defection not to apply in case of split:-Where a member of a House makes a claim that he and any other members of his legislature party constitute the group representing a faction which has arisen as a result of a split in his original political party and such group consists of not less than one-third of the members of such legislature party:--
(a) he shall not be disqualified under sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 2 on the ground--
(b) from the time of such split, such faction shall be deemed to be the political party to which he belongs for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) of paragraph 2 and to be his original political party for the purposes of this paragraph.
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further to amend the Constitution of India.
(As passed by the Houses of Parliament)