“The judgment in the Karnataka case is likely to make defection easier rather than more difficult — and attractive, to boot — provided the party to which an MLA defects can throw in enough incentives to induce defection — even at the cost of incurring disqualification” opines Deccan Chronicle, a well-known newspaper of Hyderabad, in its editorial with the headline “Supreme Court ruling on MLAs to encourage defections.”
In the Karnataka rebel MLA case, Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the Assembly Speaker to disqualify 14 Congress MLAs and three JD(S) legislators. The bench took the decision based on the Tenth Schedule — the anti-defection law — but struck down the Speaker’s order to disqualify them for the remainder of the Assembly’s term, which ends in 2023.
The editorial noted “the judgment may stick to the letter of the law, but not its spirit.”
Pointing out that ‘these MLAs let down their parties, leading to the Congress-JD(S) coalition government’s fall and the induction of a minority BJP government in Karnataka’ the editorial stated that ‘the BJP has indicated the disqualified MLAs will soon join the saffron party. Some may be given party tickets for the byelections.’
It observed that ‘If they win, the BJP’s minority status may be converted into a majority. In effect, their disqualification (by the former Speaker) will be negated.’
Asserting that “the Tenth Schedule is a faultily-drafted law”, the editorial stated that “the Tenth Schedule permits the Speaker to disqualify a defector from membership of the House without granting the presiding officer latitude to lay down the period of disqualification, the Speaker’s authority is rendered a joke.”