News: Amid the worsening political crisis in Rajasthan, rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs moved the High Court on Thursday challenging the disqualification notices issued to them by the Assembly Speaker. The Pilot camp contended that they could not be disqualified merely for disagreeing with the decisions and policies of some leaders outside the Assembly.
About Anti –Defection Law:
The anti-defection law in India, technically the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution, was enacted to address the perceived problem of instability caused by democratically elected legislators in India’s Parliamentary System of Government shifting allegiance from the parties they supported at the time of election, or disobeying their parties’ decisions at critical times such as during voting on an important resolution.
In 1985, the Tenth Schedule of the 52nd amendment to the Constitution of India was passed by the Parliament of India to achieve this.
Following recommendations from many constitutional bodies, Parliament in 2003 passed the Ninety-first Amendment to the Constitution of India.
This strengthened the act by adding provisions for disqualification of defectors and barring them from being appointed as ministers for a period of time.
The Tenth Schedule lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote.
This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the House.
The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
The law does not specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
2. DECLINE IN MATERNAL MORTALITY RATIO (MMR)
News: The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016, according to the special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18, released by the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS).
As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.
One of the key indicators of maternal mortality is the MMR, defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births.
The target 3.1 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations aims to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 1,00,000 live births.
Assam (215) has the highest MMR, followed by Uttar Pradesh (197). Kerala (43) has the lowest MMR.