Electoral Reforms In India

Explained: Constructive Vote of No-confidence


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Constructive Vote of No-confidence

Mains level : Viability of simultaneous elections in India

  • In the debate over simultaneous elections, one question being raised is what happens to the common cycle if any one of these simultaneously elected legislatures is brought down by a no-confidence motion.
  • The ruling govt. in Odisha where Assembly and general elections already coincide has proposed a solution, a provision what is followed in Germany.

Constructive Vote of No-confidence

  • Article 67 [Vote of no confidence] of Basic Law in Germany (Constitution of Germany) sets conditions for moving a no-confidence motion against the Chancellor.
  • The Bundestag (German parliament) may express its lack of confidence in the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor by the vote of a majority of its members and requesting the Federal President to dismiss the Chancellor.
  • The President must comply with the request and appoint the person elected.
  • Article 68 [Vote of confidence] states that if a motion of the Chancellor for a vote of confidence is not supported by a majority of members, the President, upon the proposal of the Chancellor, may dissolve the Bundestag within 21 days.
  • The right of dissolution shall lapse as soon as the Bundestag elects another Chancellor by a majority vote.

Its meaning

  • The provision allows Parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a majority in favour for a prospective successor.
  • This narrows down the scope of the Opposition to overthrow the government at will and necessitate elections before the government ends its term.
  • The underlying premise is that there is a fixed five-year-tenure (for the House) and that there will be a government no matter what.
  • The government will be presumed to have a majority unless another grouping is in a position to demonstrate that they have greater numbers.
  • This is based on a concept called “constructive vote of no-confidence”, also recommended by the Law Commission of India in a 2018 draft report.
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