This term ‘Floor Crossing’ can also be termed as ‘Political defection’ or ‘Side Swapping’,-illustrate
At first, I can safely say that Bangladesh is a conservative country. All things are pretty much conservative in this country. And the law and regulations is not an exception. The law of our country is very much conservative. We have inherited this conservativeness from our ancestors. So, conservativeness is not a new thing to us. Regarding the topic of this assignment which is given by our honorable faculty member, which is ‘A member of the parliament of our country has no power to vote against his or her party as per the constitution of our country. If anyone does so, then he or she will lose their respective seats.’ Now, our honorable faculty member wanted to know our view on this. How we look at this particular law. Is it helpful or appropriate for our country? Or is it leading us towards dictatorship. Now, my view on this particular law is that it should be modified. This law just shows that our conservativeness as a nation. And if we want to change our image then these kinds of laws have to be modified. In the later part of this assignment, I will try to establish my point.
This particular law in context of Bangladesh
This particular law is known as ‘Floor Crossing’ in our country. Floor crossing means to resign from one party and to join another party. In broader sense, this term refers to voting against one’s own party in the parliament during the time of voting. Floor crossing also says that if one member is not present at the time of voting or passing a bill or does not take part in the voting, the member will lose his or her membership or seat from the parliament. This term ‘Floor Crossing’ can also be termed as ‘Political defection’ or ‘Side Swapping’, Means to change his or her current party. This law basically takes away the freedom from ministers selected by the people of our country. This law is also common in other Asian countries like Pakistan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka etc. In our country, constitution makers incorporated this law in the year 1972. This law can be found in the section 70 of our constitution. This is an anti-floor crossing law.
Justification behind incorporating this law
The main reasons are given by the law makers who have incorporated this law that it prevents ministers of switching their interest from one party to another party. They have also said that this law keeps the ministers honest and grounded. They also said that this law will keep the government responsible and accountable to the general people. These were the main reasons given by the makers who made this law.
Background of this law
As I said earlier, this law was introduced in 1972 and this particular law can be founded in the section 70 of our constitution. Before the liberation war, our country used to be a part of Pakistan. Known as East Pakistan. At that time, ministers were used to cross the floor for their own benefit. At that time, the politicians lacked the wisdom and responsibility. They were selfish in nature and used the term known as ‘Floor Crossing’ for their own advantage. This stopped the flow of parliament as every politician was using this for their own benefit. At that time, it was a regular practice. Law makers then realized that only one way we can prevent this act by simply incorporating an anti-law against this. And they then successfully introduced this law in order to keep the ministers honest and accountable to their respective parties. At the beginning, this law worked quite well for our country as every minister and politician became honest and accountable to their respective parties. But with the passage of time this law seemed to have lost its edge. In later part of this assignment, I will elaborate this particular topic that how this law has become out dated and what sorts of problems it is creating for our country.
Problems regarding this law in my view
There can be seen some specific problems regarding this law. Here are some flaws which I have found out about this particular law-
(1) Firstly, this law has become out dated. It has been ages since the formation of this law. And like every other thing, this law also needs to be modified.
(2) There have been some noticeable changes in the behavior and ethics in the people of this generation from the previous one. Today’s politicians are much more learned than their ancestors. They are focused on the well being of people rather than their own. And this particular law was made for the people of previous generations. So, clearly, this law is not viable for today’s generations.
(3) This law is quite conservative. As this law tried to limit the politician’s act of switching their loyalty. But, now-a-days, when we are trying to stand as a nation with dignity and pride, these kinds of laws are keeping us out dated and dragging us back as a nation.
(4) This law is back pegging the politicians to take any step against their own party.
(5) Because of this law, politicians cannot do much about the general public.
(6) Because of this law, politicians cannot talk about the corruptions of their own parties in front of the media.
Advantages we can gain in my view by modifying this law are-
Here are some advantages we can obtain if we change or modify this particular law. These advantages are-
(1) If we can modify this law, then the ultimate beneficiary will be the general people of our country.
(2) As today’s politicians are more philanthropic than previous politicians, changing this law will help them do good things for people.
(3) This particular law is quite unfaithful. So, changing or modifying this law will bring back the faith of politicians into their own parties.
(4) As this law is quite conservative, changing or modifying this law will bring back some respect of our nation.
(5) Changing or modifying this law can establish our country as an open minded country in the world map.
(6) After the change, politicians can speak freely about the wrong doings of their parties in front of the media.
(7) It will stop back pegging our politicians.
(8) The whole political scenario can improve if we change this particular law.
(9) Politicians can become even more honest after that.
(10) Their priority level towards their own political party will surely improve.
(11) It does not go well with a democratic country like us.
Now, I will try to show how this particular law is doing in the prospect of other countries-
In context of India
As we know, India is a vast country both in terms of land and people. Most of their population is still uneducated. And most of their politicians are from rural area. And most of the people in their rural areas are uneducated. Now, we all know that how corrupt the politician of India is and can be. Their politicians can be very cheap personality enriched. In 1967, Mr. Gaya Lal, the then MLA from Hassanpur, of course who was an uneducated person, changed his political party 3 times in a single day. Yes, 3 times in a single day. Can we believe that? So, this law is quite justified in context of India. In 1970s, this particular problem reached alarming proportions. In local hindi language, defecting legislators were called ‘Ayaraam’ and ‘Gayaraam’. Means person who cross the floor again and again. Subhash C. Kashyap, who was secretary general of lok Sabha (The house of people) from 1980 to 1990, states in his book ‘Anti defection Law’ that at that time, Indian politicians changed their respective parties as many as 5 times and there were 2000 cases of defection pending at that time. As in the example above we saw how cheap a politician in India can be. It can be said in the manner that the Indian government should strict this law.
In context of Britain and America
In Britain and America, people are quite open minded about everything and they have designed their law according to that. In Britain and America, most people are educated and they know that they are doing. They can differentiate between good and bad. In the laws of both the countries, they have seen this particular situation pretty openly. As many of their politicians have been successfully switched their political party from one party to another one. And in their country, they saw it as a normal scenario and have actually benefited from this. As when their politicians thought that their current party is not doing well or the interest of individual and party is clashing, they took help of this law and successfully made the switch.
Implications and effects of this law in the politics of Bangladesh
From the broader point of view, floor-crossing is a democratic right connected with personal liberty and freedom of thought and of speech, right to vote against party decision, or to be absent in the house procedure. This law effectively pushes us backwards as a nation and as well as a country. Because of this law, politicians are afraid to be whistle blower. This was disclosing the dirty secrets of one party in front of media and general public. They also become disengaged in doing any philanthropic work for the general masses of the country. For this reason, good politicians are not coming through with the current political system. This law is preventing the good politicians to come through and creating a handful of dishonest politicians. Long term effect of this law is very horrible in context of our country. If this law remains like this, then the ultimate sufferer will be the general masses of the country. Because of the politicians will become greedier of corruption. As a consequence, our economy will fall flat to is face. This law is also not giving the opportunity to the good politicians to change their current political party and to go to other parties to do better works. This is hampering the political situation of our country. Because, good politicians will not be then motivated to continue their good works for the people and for the country itself.
As I have discussed so far, to me, this is a very conservative law in my view. Many may disagree with me because it is an open topic and anybody can argue on this. So far, I have only given my views on this particular topic. To me, the usefulness of this law will vary to individual to individual and to people to people. I agree that this law is better suited for South Asian countries. Because the people in this region is very much dishonest and greedy in nature. But I have argued that this law should change in the context of our country, because it will give us the opportunity to progress as a nation, because in the consequence, many good politicians will come through the political systems, which is impossible without changing or modifying these types of laws. Again, changing or modifying this type of law will mean that our politicians, specially the younger ones who are more energetic, will try to do more philanthropic works for the country. This thing will also energize the old politicians too. Because, when they will see that the younger politicians are doing such great encouraging works for the country, they will also feel that it is high time that they should also start doing some good works for the betterment of the general masses of the country. And if this thing actually happens, The people of the country and the country itself will be the beneficiary of this thing. And more and more changing and modifying of these types of laws will improve the name of our country in the outer world which is now surrounded by all kinds of bad things at the moment.
1. Halim, “CONSTITUTION, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND POLITICS: BANGLADESH PERSPECTIVE” pp. 176-178
2. Halim, “CONSTITUTION, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND POLITICS: BANGLADESH PERSPECTIVE”. Dhaka: P.C. Culture
3. Halim, “Provisions for prevention of floor crossing in Article 70 of The Constitution and parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh”. pp 1-2
4. Halim, “CONSTITUTION, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW AND POLITICS: BANGLADESH PERSPECTIVE”. P 180