The disqualification of a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) is a consequential event in politics, marking the removal of an elected representative from their position due to certain legal or constitutional violations. In the world’s biggest democracy like India, where every politician plays a role, disqualifying a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) can be an unexpected twist keeping both the audience and political pundits on the edge of their seats.
Understanding the disqualification of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) is crucial for competitive exams because it delves into the core principles of democratic governance. Being good at this shows you understand how systems keep democracy fair and accountable.
So, let’s delve into this topic in detail.
Constitutional provisions on Disqualification of MPs/ MLAs
Under the Indian Constitution, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of a state if:
- He/she holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by the state legislature).
- He/she is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court.
- He/she is an undischarged insolvent.
- He/she is not a citizen of India, has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state, or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state.
- He/she is disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
Disqualification grounds under the Representation of People Act
The Parliament has also prescribed various other disqualification grounds under the Representation of People Act (1951). These include,
- He/she must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices.
- He/she must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years. But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
- He/she must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
- He/she must not be interested in government contracts, works, or services.
- He/she must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.
Interesting facts on disqualification of MPs/ MLAs
Some intriguing facts about the disqualification of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in India:
1. The Office of Profit Dilemma:
Disqualification can occur if an MP or MLA holds an "office of profit" under the government. However, defining what constitutes an office of profit can sometimes lead to complex and controversial cases, turning the disqualification process into a legal puzzle.
2. Crossing Party Lines:
Switching political parties can be a tricky game. In some instances, MPs or MLAs have faced disqualification when they switch parties, raising questions about loyalty and the impact on the political balance.
3. Problem with Citizenship:
Disqualification can also happen if an elected representative is found to be not solely a citizen of India or has acquired citizenship of a foreign state voluntarily. This entails that national allegiance is a crucial factor in serving the public.
4. Mental health issues:
Cases involving mental health issues can be sensitive. Disqualification on the grounds of being of unsound mind requires a court declaration. The intersection of mental health and politics adds a unique dimension to these cases.
5. Enactment of new laws:
The criteria for disqualification can evolve. Parliament may enact new laws that influence the disqualification process, making it a dynamic aspect of India's political and legal landscape.
Hence, in simple words, imagine MPs and MLAs as players on a fair political field. They get a timeout if they pick jobs that don't match their roles. It's like telling them, "Follow the rules or take a break." It's all about keeping the game of democracy honest and square.
To know more about the Anti-Defection Law, Read this blog
Competitive Exam Questions on Disqualification of MPs
1. What is a common reason for the disqualification of an MP in India?
A) Non-payment of taxes
B) Absence from parliamentary sessions
C) Dual citizenship
D) Holding an office of profit under the government
2. Who has the authority to decide on the disqualification of an MP?
A) The President of India
B) The Prime Minister
C) The Election Commission of India
D) The Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
3. Can an MP be disqualified for voluntarily resigning from their party or changing political affiliations?
A) Yes, they will be disqualified immediately
B) No, MPs are allowed to switch parties without consequences
C) Yes, but only during the first year of their term
D) No, the law permits MPs to change parties at any time
4. Which of the following is not a ground for the disqualification of an MP in India?
A) Declaring personal bankruptcy
B) Acquiring citizenship of another country
C) Advocating secession or supporting disloyalty to the Indian state
D) Violating campaign spending limits
5. In India, what is the maximum duration an MP can be disqualified for holding an office of profit under the government?
A) 6 months
B) 1 year
C) 2 years
D) 3 years
- D) Holding an office of profit under the government
- D) The Speaker of the Lok Sabha or Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
- A) Yes, they will be disqualified immediately
- D) Violating campaign spending limits
- C) 2 years
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