Manipur Political Crisis – Burning Issues – Free PDF Download


Importance of the issue

  • Question on Anti defection Law In Prelims
  • Analysis / example in Mains GS2 Paper.

Manipur Legislative Assembly Elections 2017

  • On 15 March 2017,  Biren Singhof BJP was sworn as the Chief Minister
  • Bjp formed a coalition with
  • National People’s Party
  • Naga People’s Front
  • Lok Janshakti Party
  • Trinamool Congress
  • Independent

The Revolving door politics

  • Later, 8 Congress MLAs joined BJP, taking the government’s tally to 40 members.
  • CM N.Biren Singh himself had joined BJP just before the 2017 elections
  1. Joykumar of NPP

  • March – One Congress MLA, who had defected to the BJP, was disqualified by the Speaker following an order of the Supreme Court, reducing the house strength to 59 members.
  • June 8 – High Court of Manipur restrained the seven Congress MLAs, who defected to the BJP, from entering the assembly till Speaker Y. Khemchand Singh finally disposed of the pending anti-defection cases against them.

What happened in June 2020?

  • Right before the Rajya sabha elections , on 17 June, many MLAs switched support from the BJP govt.
  • 4 NPP
  • 1 TMC
  • 1 independent
  • 3 BJP MLAs tendered resignation from the House and joined Congress
  • 4 out of 7 who had left Congress, went back to Congress again.
  • House strength – 56
  • Congress + = 30
  • Okram Ibobi singh staked claim to form a govt.

The Speaker’s Decision

  • Just before the elections, the Speaker :-
  • disqualified the 4 BJP (Congress*) MLAs who had returned to Congress.
  • While allowing the other three, still with BJP, to vote in the Rajya Sabha election.
  • His decision brought down the Congress tally to 26, at par with BJP, in a house now reduced to 52 members

RS election

  • BJP candidate Leishemba Sanajaoba won the Rajya Sabha election getting 28 votes while his Congress rival got 24
  • 2 Congress votes – ???

Anti Defection Law

  • 10th Schedule of the Constitution , added via the 52nd Amendment Act, 1985.
  • An elected member of the house shall be disqualified from being a member if they win the election as a candidate of one party and then join another.
  • The power for this disqualification is vested in the Speaker, who is usually a nominee of the ruling party.
  • Grounds for disqualification
  • If an elected member gives up his membership of a political party voluntarily.
  • If he votes or abstains from voting in the House, contrary to any direction issued by his political party.
  • If any member who is independently elected joins any party.
  • If any nominated member joins any political party after the end of 6 months.

The Speaker

  • The decision on disqualification questions on the ground of defection is referred to the Speaker or the Chairman of the House, and his/her decision is final*.
  • Originally, the Act provided that the presiding officer’s decision was final and could not be questioned in any court of law.
  • In Kihoto Hollohan case (1993), the Supreme Court declared this provision as unconstitutional on the ground that it seeks to take away the jurisdiction of the SC and the high courts.
  • Presiding officer should function as a tribunal

The Problem

  • Time taken for speaker’s decision??
  • Whether a High Court can direct a Speaker to decide a disqualification petition within a certain timeframe is pending before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.
    (2016 SA Sampath Kumar vs Kale Yadaiah )
  • January 2020 Speakers of assemblies and the Parliament must decide disqualification pleas within a period of three months except in extraordinary circumstances.




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