Stating that reforms in the anti-defection law is the need of the hour, Andhra Pradesh Speaker Tammineni Sitaram on Sunday said a committee should be set up to study the issue seriously.
"Defections of legislators are still continuing and rampant because of inherent inadequacies and lacunae. Judiciary is also interfering in this issue. The anti-defection law needs to be re-looked into seriously and a committee should be established to study this matter," Sitaram told reporters here.
The Andhra Speaker, a member of YSR Congress Party, said he also made this suggestion at the 79th Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies that concluded on December 19 in Dehradun.
The 10th Schedule of the Constitution is known as anti-defection law.
Sharing major inadequacies in the anti-defection law, the Speaker said there is lack of time limit for the disposal of petitions filed under this law by the presiding officers.
In some states, the presiding officers didn't even initiate the process of examination of petitions filed under the anti-defection law for a period of five years and later these petitions were subjected to "natural death" after the dissolution of the House, he said.
Nearly 30 petitions filed under this law by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) between 2014 and 2019 "could not see the light of the day for five years". The presiding officers either failed to initiate the process or took shelter under the inadequacy of lack of time in the anti-defection law, he added.
The other inadequacy in the law, the Speaker said, is the word 'voluntarily giving up of membership' which has not been defined in the 10th Schedule giving scope to a great rift between the legislature and the judiciary.
The third inadequacy is 'merger clause' provided under the 10th Schedule, he said, and added, "Many of the legislators are using this clause as a cover to their illegal defections."
Sitaram also mentioned that many presiding officers were in favour of reforms and also appreciated Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar who had disqualified 17 MLAs during the Congress-JD(S) government.
On the state government's plan to set up three capitals, the Speaker said everyone is welcoming the concept and it will help in the holistic development of the state.
The previous N Chandrababu Naidu government had promised to develop nine cities but he concentrated only on developing the new capital city Amaravati. The YSRCP-government will focus on strengthening all areas, he said.
Besides Amaravati, the current state government's plan is to set up Kurnool and Vishakapatnam as capital cities.