J&K passes anti-defection Bill
29 December 2005
Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Thursday a Bill which makes it impossible for any legislator or a group of legislators to leave their party and join another. The amendment Bill deletes para three of schedule 7 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution according to which if one third MLAs of a party form a separate party, their group gets recognition in the House. Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig, who hold the portfolios of Law, Finance and Parliamentary Affairs, said the main aim of the bill was to discourage the menace of defection. Interestingly every political party across the board welcomed the Bill. The Leader of Opposition, Abdul Rahim Rather (National Conference), said, 'The NC welcomes the bill and supports the State government for eliminating this menace.' After the fractured verdict of the 2002 Assembly elections, every party in the State has faced the threat of a split at one time or another. Another bill to reduce the strength of the Council of State Ministry to 20 per cent of the total strength of both Houses was also passed in the Assembly. The Bill becomes pertinent as the 91st constitutional amendment of Parliament, which restricts the size of the Councils of Ministers at the Centre and in the States below 15 per cent of the members in the Lok Sabha or state legislatures, was not binding on Jammu and Kashmir.