WHIP IN INDIA
Why in NEWS?
A five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India is hearing petitions filed in the wake of last year’s political crisis in Maharashtra precipitated by a division in the Shiv Sena.
What is a ‘whip’ in the House?
- In parliamentary parlance, a whip may refer to both a written order to members of a party in the House to abide by a certain direction, and to a designated official of the party who is authorized to issue such a direction. The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line.
- A whip may require that party members be present in the House for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. In India, all parties can issue whips to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a chief whip, and he/ she is assisted by additional whips.
Whips can be of varying degrees of seriousness. The importance of a whip can be inferred from the number of times an order is underlined.
- A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
- A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
- A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.
What can happen if a whip is defied?
The penalty for defying a whip varies from country to country.
In India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk. The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/ Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.
“Once a government is formed, it is not open to any group of MLAs to say that we don’t want to go with this alliance. It is not open to any one segment of a political party to say we don’t want to go with this alliance. That will ipso facto attract the disqualification provisions. You are bound by the whip. You are bound to vote with your party so long as you are in the legislature, unless there is a merger,” CJI said on.
Source: Indian express
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