Whip in India

In this article, you can read all about whips in the Indian Parliament. This is an important topic in UPSC polity and governance.

A whip is a directive from a political party that binds the members of that political party in a House to obey the line of the party. In India, the concept is a remnant of the British colonial rule. Most parties appoint a whip whose job it is to ensure discipline among the party members at the floor of the House.

Although the concept of the whip has no official sanction, and is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is a convention that is followed in the Indian Parliament.

The chief whip is a Member of Parliament (MP) drawn from the party in power and also from the party that sits in opposition. The whip is also an important party office-bearer in the House.

Functions of Whip

The chief whip of the party has a crucial role to play in parliamentary democracy. The whip keeps the party together and also ensures a smooth and efficient functioning of the business of the House. The chief functions of the whip are:

  • To ensure discipline among party members in the House.
  • To ensure attendance of the party members.
  • To make sure the MPs vote according to the party line.
  • To ensure that the MPs are informed of the party opinion on the moods of the members.
  • To identify the signs of discontent among MPs and inform the Prime Minister of the same.
  • To supply list of speakers on Bills and other business in the House.
  • He or she is responsible for maintaining the internal party organisation in the Parliament, and acts as a binding force in the party.
  • He or she also acts as a counsellor to the party members in the House and as an advisor to the party leaders.

In India, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs is the Chief Whip of the Government. He is assisted by assistant whips also. There are also regional whips who are in liaison with the party members of the states.

Types of whips

One line whip: it is issued to inform the members about a vote

Two line whip: it is issued to direct the members to be present in the House at the time of voting

Three line whip: it is issued to members directing them to vote as per the party line.

What if a whip is violated?

If an MP violates a party whip, he or she faces expulsion from the House under the Anti-Defection Law. A three line whip can be violated only if 1/3rd of the party members of the House decide to vote against the party line.

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