From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Discretionary powers of Governor
Mains level : Speaker vs Governor Tussle
With the Supreme Court set to hear on a plea seeking a directive to the government in Madhya Pradesh to take a floor test “within 12 hours”, the spotlight is back on the legal debate on the powers of the Governor and the Speaker under the Constitution.
Primacy to Floor Test
- Since 2014, the legal-political tussle between the Governor and Speaker has prompted the Supreme Court’s intervention in three major instances — in the Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand cases in 2016 and in the Karnataka case in 2019.
- In all three cases, the court emphasised the primacy of the floor test.
- In the Arunachal and Uttarakhand cases, the House was in suspended animation as President’s Rule had been imposed.
- The Supreme Court ordered that the House be summoned and a floor test held to end the impasse.
- But Article 212 of the Constitution bars courts from inquiring into proceedings of the Legislature.
- Earlier, the Sarkaria Commission had recommended that, if the CM neglects or refuses to summon the Assembly for a floor test, the Governor should summon the Assembly.
- If the House is adjourned sine die or prorogued without holding a floor test, then all options are open before the Governor.
- However, when the House is in session, the question of whether the court can direct the Speaker to hold a floor test is yet to be settled.
- In 1998, in the Jagadambika Pal case, the SC had ordered a composite floor test when the House was in session.
- However, in that case, there were two claimants to the chief minister’s post.