Aaya Ram Gaya Ram was a phrase that became popular in Indian politics after a Haryana MLA
Gaya Lal changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967. The anti-defection law sought
to prevent such political defections which may be due to reward of office or other similar
The Anti-Defection Law was passed in the year 1985 through the 52nd Amendment, which
added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. A Member of Parliament or state
legislature was deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or
disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote and he can be disqualified by the
Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House. Further
amendments were made through 91st Amendment Act. The Anti-Defection Law Amended
Articles 101, 102, 190, 191, 164(1B), 361B (please read them from bare act) of the
Constitution regarding vacation of seats and disqualification from membership of Parliament
and the State Legislatures and setting out certain provisions as to disqualification on ground of
• A person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of Parliament if he
is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.
• A person shall be disqualified for being a member of the Legislative Assembly or
Legislative Council of a State if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule.
• Tenth Schedule was incorporated, which included Articles 102(2) and 191(2).
Paragraph 2 of the tenth schedule provides two explanations related to the disqualification
on the ground of defection. The first explanation is that, “if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party”. The political party referred here is such party from which
the member contested for the purpose of election and became a member of the house. The
second explanation is, “if he votes or abstains from voting in such house contrary to any
direction issued by the political party to which he belongs or by any person or authority he
authorized by it in this behalf, without obtaining, in either case, the prior permission of such
political party, person or authority, and such voting or abstention has not been condoned by
such political party, person or authority within fifteen days from the state of such voting or
Anti-defection law has been considered as a watershed in the ethical politics of India. It has
coerced legislators to be moral and synchronised with a political mind set. Anti-defection law
has discouraged politicians to shift gears for their personal gain. However, there are many
deficiencies in the act and even at times failed to prevent defections.
• Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance
• Ensures that candidates elected with party support and on the basis of party manifestoes
remain loyal to the party policies
• Also promotes party discipline
• By preventing parliamentarians from changing parties, it reduces the accountability of
the government to the Parliament and the people.
• Interferes with the member’s freedom of speech and expression by curbing dissent
against party policies.
Therefore, the main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections”. A member
would incur a disqualification when he “voluntarily gives up his membership of a party”
and when he/she votes (or abstains from voting) contrary to the directive issued by the