Published On: Mon, Apr 13th, 2020
Top News | ByIANS

MP Governor was right in asking for floor test: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday, while delivering a detailed judgement on ordering a floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, said the exercise of power by the Governor of the state to “convene a floor test cannot be regarded as constitutionally improper”, therefore he could ask the Chief Minister to prove majority.

The bench also observed that the Speaker accepted the resignations tendered by six of the 22 MLAs on March 14

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice Hemant Gupta said the Governor has in fact not intervened in the authority which is entrusted to the Speaker to either decide upon the voluntary and genuine character of the resignations or any issue of disqualification within the meaning of the Tenth Schedule.

The Congress assailed the communication of the Governor to convene a floor test, whereas the BJP supported the de jure head of the state. On March 19, in a major development amid the political crisis in Madhya Pradesh, the apex court ordered “the floor test in the Legislative Assembly should be held on the next day and the proceedings be completed before 5 pm.”

“Faced with the communication of the Governor for convening a trust vote immediately after the Governor’s address, the session of the Legislative Assembly was adjourned till 26 March 2020 despite the House having already convened.

“This would have allowed the state of political uncertainty in Madhya Pradesh to continue and furnish avenues for political bargaining on terms which cannot be regarded as legitimate,” observed the bench.

The top court also junked the contention of the Congress that no trust vote should be conducted until by-elections are held for the twenty-two seats and termed it “misconceived”. The top court also did not pay heed to the Speaker’s counsel argument that holding of a trust vote would short-circuit the jurisdiction of the Speaker on a matter of resignation and disqualification.

The bench also observed that the Speaker accepted the resignations tendered by six of the 22 MLAs on March 14.

“All of the Members sailed together. No explanation was forthcoming in the submission of Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi (counsel for the Speaker) on what, if any, was the distinction between the six members whose resignations were accepted with alacrity and the remaining sixteen on whose resignations, no decision has been taken,” observed the court.

Emphasizing on the significance of the trust vote at the earliest, the bench noted it is required to obviate illegitimate and unseemly political bargaining in the quest for political power. “The idea underlying the trust vote in the ultimate analysis is to uphold the political accountability of the elected government to the state legislature.

“Assertion of accountability is a mirror image of the collective responsibility of the government to the legislature. The requirement of the trust vote fulfils that purpose in the present case,” said the bench.

However, the bench observed it is important to note that in directing a trust vote, the Governor does not favour a particular political party. “Whether or not to remain present is for the individual members to decide and they would, necessarily be accountable for the decisions which they take, both to their political party and to their constituents,, observed the court.

The resignation of the 22 MLAs in former Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s government had created a political upheaval and threatened the stability of the Congress government in the state. Finally leading to Kamal Nath’s resignation ahead of the floor test.

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