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Report No. 170

Chapter IV

Analysis of views and conclusions regarding amendments to the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution

3.4.1. In this chapter the amendments proposed by us in the working paper to the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution have been considered. So far as the proposal to delete paragraph 3 of the Tenth Schedule is concerned, there has been unanimous support (including that of the Prime Minister of India) to this proposal, in all the seminars, except the lone voice of Shri S.Jaipal Reddy, MP.

He submitted that in the light of the fact that there is no internal democracy in the political parties today and also because the internal structures of political parties had not been satisfactorily established so far, splits could not be barred. He opined that every split was not undesirable. In this connection, he referred to the split in the CPI in 1964.

He also referred to the fact that splits had taken place in the socialist party in the past as well as in the Congress party (in 1969 and 1978). Shri Reddy opined that democracy was inherently an untidy business and that in such a situation, the banning of splits (as well as mergers) would amount to interfering with the political processes and growth of political pluralism. In the responses received pursuant to the circulation of the working paper, the Janata Party has also not agreed with this proposal. There has been no other dissenting view. We are of the opinion that the objections raised by Shri Jaipal Reddy are really without any substance. By banning the splits, the ongoing political process, or the pluralism in the society is not being arrested. As we had made clear in our working paper, once the Parliament is dissolved, there can be splits, mergers, formation of new parties and so on. Moreover, even during the life of a Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly, as the case may be, political process can go on.

There can be mergers, splits and formation of new political parties but they shall not be reflected in the House. So far as the House is concerned, there shall be no splits in a political party and if any member violated paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule, he will stand disqualified. Indeed, the Tenth Schedule deals with and governs only the membership of the House and the splits and mergers among the members of the political parties in the House. It does not purport to govern or regulate the political processes outside the House.

So far as the internal democracy and internal structures of a party are concerned, we agree that they should be strengthened. It is for this very reason that we have recommended in Chapter one of Part three insertion of a Chapter in the Act governing and regulating the functioning of the political parties. Those provisions must also be implemented along with the changes in the Tenth Schedule.

3.4.2. In connection with this issue, some of the participants in the seminar raised a connected issue. Their views can be stated thus: the deletion of paragraph 3 tends to strengthen the control of the majority over the political party. The minority will be left with no voice. The freedom of speech, which is so essential for the successful functioning of democracy and of the Parliament/State Legislature, will come to an end. On every conceivable occasion, whip is being issued by the party leadership, leaving no room for dissent. It would be appropriate if it is provided that a whip shall be issued only on occasions when the voting is likely to affect the existence or continuance of the government and not on all and sundry occasions. Let us deal with the views aforesaid.

3.4.3. Firstly, it may be mentioned that a democracy and particularly a parliamentary democracy without political parties is inconceivable. One can just imagine what will happen if 300 independents are elected in Lok Sabha. The political parties are inseparable from a parliamentary form of government. In S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, the Supreme Court observed:

"One cannot conceive of a democratic form of Government without the political parties. They are part of the political system and constitutional scheme. Nay, they are integral to the governance of a democratic society."

3.4.4 Necessity for abiding by the whi.- In such a case, the endeavour should be to strengthen the political parties by providing for internal democracy and internal structures rather than to weaken them. Inasmuch as we are recommending in this report insertion of a new chapter governing the political parties(including the provisions ensuring internal democracy, internal structures and transparency in the conduct of its affairs), there should be no objection to strengthening of the political parties so that they will of majority prevails in a political party.

Freedom of speech is undoubtedly precious but when a person becomes a member of the political party, accepts its ticket and fights and succeeds on that ticket, he renders himself subject to the discipline and control of the party. It should also be noticed that when a person applies for the ticket of a political party, he knows, and is expected to know, about the leadership, internal working, policies and programmes of the party. He must also reckon with the fact that in future, the leadership may change, policies and programmes may change and so on.

If he, with his eyes open, applies for and obtains the ticket and contests and wins on that basis, he cannot plead later that he does not agree with the leadership or policies of the party. Any difference of opinion, he must ventilate and fight within the party. The membership of House does not become his private property nor can he trade in it. It is a trust and he is in the members of a trustee. He cannot also say that he will take advantage of the name and facilities of a political party, fight the election on the ticket of that party and succeed, but he will not be subject to the discipline of the political party.

This is simply unthinkable besides being unethical and immoral. He has to abide by the party discipline within the House. He may fight within the party to have his point of view or policies adopted by the party but once the party takes a decision one way or the other and issues the whip, he shall have to abide by it or resign and go out. It would equally be unethical and immoral for him to vote against the whip and then resign.

3.4.5. We may mention that in a system of government like that of the USA, there is no occasion, generally speaking, of issuance of a whip. The vote in Congress does not and cannot affect the continuance of the government. In recent days, we have witnessed (in the case of impeachment of President Clinton) several members of Republican Party voting against their party line and in favour of the President.

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