Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Floor Test in Jharkhand Assembly

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Floor Test, No confidence Motion

Mains level : Read the attached story

Introduction

  • The new government has won the trust vote on the floor of the Jharkhand Assembly. A floor test serves as a pivotal check to determine if the executive enjoys the confidence of the legislature.

What is Floor Test?

  • Definition: A floor test is a constitutional measure employed to ascertain whether the Chief Minister, appointed by the Governor, commands the majority support of the Legislative Assembly.
  • Governor’s Role: The Governor appoints the CM, typically from the party securing the majority of seats in the Assembly.
  • Voting of Confidence: If the majority is challenged or questioned, the Chief Minister must seek a vote of confidence to prove the majority among the members present and voting.
  • Consequences of Failure: Failure to secure the majority in the floor test necessitates the resignation of the Chief Minister.
  • Application: Floor tests are conducted both in the Parliament and state legislative assemblies. They are also utilized in cases of disputes within coalition governments.

Postponement of Floor Tests

  • Legal Precedent: Recent Supreme Court rulings have clarified that floor tests need not be postponed even if the decision on the disqualification of rebel members is pending.
  • Shivraj Singh Chouhan v/s Speaker Case: The 2020 case involving Shivraj Singh Chouhan established this principle.
  • Discretion in Special Cases: In exceptional situations with no clear majority, the Governor can use discretion to expedite the selection of the Chief Ministerial candidate for a floor test.

Composite Floor Test

  • Multiple Claimants: When multiple individuals stake a claim to form the government, a Composite Floor Test is conducted.
  • Majority Determination: In cases where the majority is unclear, a special session is convened to ascertain the majority.
  • Counting the Majority: Majority is determined based on those present and voting. Voting can occur through voice votes or division voting, involving electronic gadgets, ballots, or slips.
  • Speaker’s Vote: In case of a tie, the Speaker may cast the deciding vote.

Challenges with the Floor Test

  • Luring of MLAs: In some instances, ruling party MLAs may be lured with rewards or incentives, undermining the constitutionality and fairness of the floor test.
  • Constitutional and Moral Implications: Such actions are seen as constitutionally immoral and unjust, as they circumvent the Tenth Schedule through engineered defections using the judicial process.

Back2Basics: No Confidence Motion

  • Rule 198 of Lok Sabha: The process for a No Confidence Motion is explained under this rule in the Lok Sabha.
  • Constitutional provisions: While the Constitution does NOT mention the terms ‘No Confidence Motion’ or ‘floor test,’ Articles 75 and 164 establish the collective responsibility of the executive to their respective legislatures.
  • Procedure: Any Opposition member can move a no-confidence motion, which requires the backing of at least 50 members for acceptance.
  • Discussion Period: The Speaker announces a date for discussion, which must occur within 10 days from the date of acceptance.

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