What is a whip?
- A whip is an official of a political party who acts as the party’s ‘enforcer’ inside the legislative assembly or house of parliament. He is responsible for the party’s discipline and behaviour on the floor of the House.
- 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. India inherited the concept of the whip from the British parliamentary system.
- A legislator may face disqualification proceedings if she/he disobeys the whip of the party unless the number of lawmakers defying the whip is 2/3rds of the party’s strength in the house. Disqualification is decided by the Speaker of the house.
- However, there are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.
- The office of ‘whip’, is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.
Types of whips
- One-line whip is issued to inform members of a party about a vote. It allows a member to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
- Two-line whip is issued to direct the members to be present in the House at the time of voting.
- Three-line whip is issued to members directing them to vote as per the party line.