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All You Want to Need about Floor test [Mains Articles]

Uddhav Thackeray and the NCP-Congress-Shiv Sena coalition government is most likely to face the crucial floor test in Maharashtra assembly soon.
By IT's Mains Articles Team
November 30, 2019

Content

  • Context
  • What is a Floor Test?
  • What is a composite floor test?
  • How is the voting done?
  • What is the Difference between trust vote, floor test and no-confidence motion?
  • Evolution of Floor Test in India
  • What is the role of the speaker?
  • Arguments for and against Floor Tests
  • Constitutional Provisions related to the topic of Floor Test
  • Conclusion

All You Want to Need about Floor test

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Context

The Supreme Court in the recent past has ordered floor tests to resolve political deadlocks.

What is a Floor Test?

  • According to Article 75 (3) and Article 164 of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the House of the People. When a legislative assembly passes no-confidence motion against the council of ministers, the government of the day dissolves.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • In a nutshell, floor test is essentially a vote of confidence. The floor test helps determine whether the government of the day continues to enjoy majority support of the legislature.
  • When a floor test is called for in the assembly of a state, the chief minister will move a vote of confidence and prove that he has the majority support. If the floor test fails, the chief minister will have to resign.
  • The whole idea of a floor test is incorporated in the constitution of India to ensure transparency in the constitutional process.

What is a composite floor test?

  • If there is more than one person staking claim to form the government and the majority is not clear, the governor may call for a special session to see who has the majority.
  • Some legislators may be absent or choose not to vote. In such a case, the majority is counted based on those present and voting.

How is the voting done?

How is the voting done

  • In case there is a tie, the speaker can cast his vote.

Difference between Trust vote, Floor test and No-confidence motion

 Trust Vote

Floor Test

Confidence Motion

·         A confidence motion or a trust vote is a procedure for the government to prove its majority in the House.

·         A trust vote can take place by way of a motion of confidence which is moved by the government or brought by the opposition.

·         It is a motion normally proposed by the Prime Minister to test the majority in the Lok Sabha. Such an exercise normally takes place when a new government is set to be formed. Any party will first have to prove its majority on the floor of the House before taking over.

·         A trust vote can also be brought about if a government resigns and another party stakes a claim to form the government.

·         The floor test is a term used for the test of the majority. If there are doubts against the chief minister, the governor can ask him to prove his majority in the House.

·         In case of a coalition government, the chief minister may be asked to move a vote of confidence and win a majority.

 

·         A No-confidence motion is usually moved by the opposition when it feels that the ruling government does not enjoy a majority in the House any longer. No reason is required to move such a motion.

·         A no-confidence motion can be moved by any member of the house and can be done only in the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha. Such a motion is moved under Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure.

·         A member has to give written notice of the motion before 10 am, which is then read out by the Speaker of the House.

·         A minimum of 50 members have to accept the motion and the Speaker would accordingly announce the date for the discussion on the motion.

·         In case the government fails to prove its majority, then the government has to resign.

 

Evolution of Floor Test in India

Evolution of Floor Test in India

What is the role of the pro –term speaker?

  • The pro-tem speaker’s role is crucial in conducting a floor test. Conventionally, the longest-serving House member is nominated as pro-tem speaker, whose role is limited to administering the oath to new MLAs and conducting the election of the full-time speaker.

Arguments for and against Floor Tests:

Arguments for and against Floor Tests

Constitutional Provisions related to Floor Test

Pro-tem Speaker

Article 180

Collective Responsibilities of council of ministers

Article 75

Governor

Article 164 of the Constitution envisages that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor.

However, the appointment of the chief minister when no party has a clear-cut majority in the state legislative assembly or when the chief minister in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor come under the situational discretion of the Governor.

 

Conclusion

As mentioned by The Supreme Court, in the Chandrakant Kavlekar  v Union of India (2017), “The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process the required credibility.” Thus it can be concluded that by addressing the resolvable shortcomings, floor test could be a pre-emptive step to ensure that the will of people is preserved and respected.

 

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