Naidu Asks Govt to Find Solution to 'Nuisance' of Defections by Lawmakers

Naidu Asks Govt to Find Solution to 'Nuisance' of Defections by Lawmakers

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday asked the government to find a solution to the "nuisance and unethical" practice of defection of elected political representatives from parent parties to others.

Naidu made the suggestion after Rajya Sabha DMK MP P Wilson raised the issue of defection during the Zero Hour.

"Unfortunately, people are saying now it's not defection, it's only affection and they are doing it with perfection. We must put an end to this. It is a very important issue across the country.

"Cutting across party lines, we must come forward to suggest some alternative to end this nuisance or nonsense or unethical acts of defection," said Naidu.

The chairman said the issue of defection was very important as even the courts have commented on it. "...But everybody is taking time. The presiding officers are taking time, courts are also taking time and then we are helpless," he said.

The Rajya Sabha chairman was apparently referring to a Supreme Court observation made recently. He asked Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to look into the issue.

"I am not asking the minister to reply but apply your mind and see to it that this issue is taken up at the appropriate level in consultations with all the concerned," he said.

Prasad, who was present in the House, said that with great respect to the Supreme Court, "those sweeping comments" against the presiding officers were "surely avoidable".

"We need to have institutional respect for all the institutions of the country. The presiding officers of the legislatures are equally important functionary in the constitutional process, that I must place on record," he said.

Echoing the sentiments, Congress leader Anand Sharma described it as a "serious matter."

"It is a transgression. The constitution is clear in its scheme of things and the division (apparently, the separation of powers between the various wings)".

Recently, a conference of presiding officers of Parliament and state assemblies was held. The 10th schedule to the Indian Constitution, which is also popularly referred to as the anti-defection law, was discussed at length on the concluding day of the conference.

The discussion on the 10th Schedule assumes importance in the wake of the Supreme Court's observation about a growing trend of Speakers of legislative bodies acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral.

The top court made the observation while upholding the disqualification of 17 lawmakers, whose resignations from the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka allowed the Bharatiya Janata Party to return to power in the state.

Sixteen of the 17 joined the ruling BJP and 13 of them were fielded in the bypolls in Karnataka after the court allowed them to contest the polls. Eleven of the 13 were re-elected.