State PCS

Edit Template
Edit Template

What is a Whip?

What is a Whip?

Context: In parliamentary and legislative contexts, the term “whip” plays a crucial role in ensuring party discipline and adherence to the party line. To understand this aspect better, it’s essential to explore what it signifies, the different types, their significance, and the potential consequences for denying a whip’s directions.

Important Articles
Tibetan Buddhism : Introduction and Basic ConceptsWhat is Social Stock Exchange?
Buddhism, India’s soft power projection toolJainism
Green Hydrogen and its issueBio-CNG Plants: Must-Know Factors!

Defining a ‘Whip’ in the House

A ‘whip’ refers to both a written order given to party members in a legislative body, instructing them to vote in a specific manner, and the designated official within a political party authorized to issue such directives. The term ‘whip’ finds its origins in the British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to ensure they align with the party’s directives.

The responsibilities of it can encompass various tasks. This may include requiring party members’ presence during crucial votes or instructing them on how to vote.

Types of Whips

These come in various degrees of importance, with their significance denoted by the number of times the order is draw:

  • A one-line whip, underlined once, typically serves to inform party members about a vote. It allows them the option to abstain if they choose not to follow the party’s stance.
  • A two-line whip directs members to be present during the vote.
  • A three-line whip holds the highest significance and is employed during significant events, such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion. Members are compel to strictly adhere to the party’s stance.


Whips within different political parties serve as critical links within the internal organisational structure of the parties. They play a pivotal role in ensuring the efficient and smooth operation of legislative bodies, including Parliaments and State Legislatures.

Among their key duties, the mapping of session schedules, coordination, monitoring, and management of government business are paramount. Government Chief Whips are responsible for assessing the legislative environment. Also conveying this information to the Leader of the House or Government.

Whips also serve as essential communication channel between the House’s leader and the ruling party members. Additionally, they maintain close cooperation with whips from other parties on various House-related matters.

Consequences of Disobeying

The impact for disobeying this can vary from one country to another. In India, denying of a three-line whip can jeopardize a legislator’s membership in the House. The Speaker or Chairperson can exercise their authority to disqualify the member, unless a significant portion of legislators opposes the directive, effectively causing a party split.

It’s important to recognize that once a government is formed, individual segments of political parties cannot unilaterally decide to withdraw from the alliance. Refusing to adhere to the directives will trigger disqualification provisions.

Situation in UK and US

In the United Kingdom (UK), an MP who defies the whip may lose party membership but can retain their House seat as an Independent. In the United States (US), the party whip’s role is to assess support and opposition for a Bill and, when possible, persuade legislators to vote in accordance with the party’s stance on the issue.

Read Also: What Is Direct Democracy: Definition, Examples, Pros & Cons

Download Daily Current Affairs

Demo Class/Enquiries

blog form

More Links
What's New
IAS NEXT is a topmost Coaching Institute offering guidance for Civil & Judicial services like UPSC, State PCS, PCS-J exams since more than 10 years.
Contact Us
Social Icon

Copyright ©  C S NEXT EDUCATION. All Rights Reserved