Top court flags horse-trading after mayoral elections in Chandigarh

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Polity

Topic: Elections and RPA

Issue: Horse Trading- Unfair Electoral Practices

Context: The Supreme Court said it is “deeply concerned about the horse-trading taking place” post the controversial Chandigarh mayoral elections.

What is horse trading?

  • It refers to the practice of persuading elected representatives (MLAs or MPs) to switch parties or vote against their own party in exchange for promises of power, money, or other incentives.
  • It is considered unethical and undemocratic as it undermines the core principle of representing the electorate’s will.


  • Undermines democracy as it weakens the mandate of the electorate
  • Erodes political stability: Frequent defections and power struggles can lead to fragile governments and hinder long-term planning.
  • Breeds corruption: The secretive nature of these deals often involves opaque financial transactions and fuels distrust in the system.

Laws related:

  • The 10th Schedule of the constitution was enacted to prevent horse trading(defections) and ensure political stability. However, it does not apply to local governments.
  • Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (Corrupt practices)
    • bribery of voters or candidates,
    • Undue influence on voters (through threats, intimidation, etc.)
    • False statements about candidates in election pamphlets
    • booth capturing and rigging the voting process.
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