Ex-Arunachal CM Tuki likely to be disqualified under anti-defection law

Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh), Feb.25 (ANI): Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki is likely to be disqualified as member of the state assembly and the Congress Party under the Anti-Defection law.

According to informed sources, incumbent state Chief Minister Kalikho Pul has issued a whip to all Congress Party MLAs to be present in the state assembly to participate in a vote on a motion of confidence with regard to his government, and it is quite likely that Tuki will ignore the whip and skip the crucial assembly session, and in turn attract punitive action under the Anti-Defection law.

The Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, popularly known as the Anti-Defection Act, was included in the Constitution in 1985 by the government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It sets down the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party.

The 52nd amendment to the Constitution relates specifically to the act and the law on the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection. A Member of Parliament or state legislature is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily resigned from his party or disobeyed the directives of the party leadership on a vote.

That is, they may not vote on any issue in contravention to the party’s whip. Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.

The law also made a few exceptions. Any person elected as speaker or chairman could resign from his party, and rejoin the party if he demitted that post. A party could be merged into another if at least two-thirds of its party legislators voted for the merger. The law initially permitted splitting of parties, but that has now been outlawed.

In the 24 years since the inclusion of this law, complaints have been made against 62 Lok Sabha MPs. Of these, 26 were disqualified. It is pertinent to note that ten of these disqualifications were after the trust vote of July 2008 (over India-US civil nuclear co-operation). Four cases were made against Rajya Sabha MPs (two in 1989 and two in 2008) and all were upheld. In state legislatures, up to 2004, out of 268 complaints, 113 were upheld.

Pul, who took over as the eighth chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh and was elected a leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) recently, is facing a floor test today to determine his strength in the state assembly. His claim to be the chief minister in place of Nabam Tuki received a boost when eight loyalists of the latter extended their support to him.

The floor test will take place during the seventh session of the state assembly, which will function from February 25 to February 27.

Pul was sworn in as chief minister on February 19 after over three months of political instability. Tuki was chief minister from November 1, 2011 to January 26, 2016.

With the joining of the eight MLAs, the strength of the Pul camp has risen to 41, including 28 Congress members, 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents. The eight are former ministers Takam Pario, Gojen Gadi, Jomde Kena and Thirong Aboh and former parliamentary secretaries Punji Mara, Jambey Tashi, Gum Tayeng and Tapak Taku.

The Arunachal State Assembly has a seat strength of 58, though the original strength was 60.

The Supreme Court had earlier upheld the judgment of the Gauhati High Court in resignation of two Congress MLAs – Gabriel Denang Wangsu and Wanglin Sawin – which was accepted by former Speaker Nabam Rebia. (ANI)

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