Karnataka crisis: What is a whip? What does it do?https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/karnataka-crisis-whats-a-whip-and-what-does-it-do-5835533/

Karnataka crisis: What is a whip? What does it do?

According to senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing the rebel MLAs, the SC order renders inoperative the three-line whip issued against the rebel MLAs to attend the Assembly.

Karnataka crisis: What's a 'whip', and what does it do?
According to senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing the rebel MLAs, the SC order renders inoperative the three-line whip issued against the rebel MLAs to attend the Assembly.(PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

Late Thursday evening, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asked Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly before 1.30 pm on Friday.

The vote to decide the fate of the JD(S)-Congress government was not held on Thursday amid a demand by Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah that the motion be deferred until the Speaker was able to decide on the fate of his whip. The Supreme Court had said the previous day that the 15 rebel MLAs “ought not to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the… House”.

What is a whip?

A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line. In India all parties can issue a whip to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip, and he/she is assisted by additional Whips.

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KINDS OF WHIPS:

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The importance of a whip can be inferred from the number of times an order is underlined. A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line. A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote. A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.

DEFIANCE OF WHIP:

The penalty for defying a whip varies from country to country. In the UK, MPs can lose membership of the party, but can keep their House seats as Independents; in India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk. The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.