The governor may conduct the floor test even in an ongoing assembly session: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday endorsed the leadership of the Madhya Pradesh governor of Kamal Nath the government will face a floor test on March 16 after the resignation of 22 MLAs that led to his resignation and installation of the government-run BJP by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and ruled that a governor had the power to lead the floor test even during an ongoing session.

Rejecting the arguments of the main proponents A M Singhvi, Kapil Sibal , Vivek Tankha and Dushyant Dave appeared for Congress, a bank of justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said: A governor is not stripped of the power to order a floor test where, depending on the material available (for the governor) It becomes clear that the question of whether the government requires the trust of the house needs to be evaluated based on a floor test.

In writing the ruling for the bench, Judge Chandrachud issued a warning: The purpose of entrusting such a role to the governor is certainly not to destabilize an existing government. When the satisfaction on the basis of which the Governor has ordered a floor test is questioned, the Governor's decision is not immune to judicial review. The SC said the constitutional courts would be justified in testing the relevance and consistency of the material that led to the governor's decision to order a floor test.

SC said the Governor has neither interfered in the House proceedings nor impinged upon Speaker's powers. Agreeing with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for Governor, and senior advocates and Maninder Singh for BJP, the SC said Governor had cogent material - resignation of 22 Congress MLAs, removal of six of them as ministers, and acceptance of resignations of these six MLAs by Speaker, to rightly ask then Kamal Nath government to prove its majority on the floor of the House.

Judge Chandrachud said: The Governor is expected to play the role of constitutional statesman ... and does not consider an elected government of the day to be a political opponent ... Acting against this mandate would result in the realization of the worst fears of constitutional drafters who knew that the governor's office could derail democratically elected governments but who nevertheless trusted future generations to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people was not disproved by those who They were designed to act as your sentries.

Governors must realize that the power vested in them to conduct the floor test must be exercised with caution in extreme circumstances. This power is granted to the Governor to guarantee that the principle of collective responsibility is maintained at all times and must be exercised with caution. The circumstances on which the Governor forms a prima facie opinion that lead to a communication that requires a trust, the vote in the legislative assembly must be objective.

The exercise of such power is not intended to destabilize or displace a democratically elected government, accountable to the legislature and collectively accountable to it. The exercise of power to ask for a vote of confidence should be guided by the general consideration that the formation of satisfaction by the governor is not based on strange considerations, he said.

Endorsing the governor's direction for the floor test, the SC said: Upon the governor's communication to call a vote of confidence immediately after the governor's speech, the session of the Legislative Assembly was suspended until March 26, despite the fact that the House had already been convened. This would have allowed the state of political uncertainty in Madhya Pradesh to continue and provided avenues for political negotiation on terms that cannot be considered legitimate. In order to avoid illegitimate and unreliable political bargaining in the pursuit of political power, this The court has consistently insisted on convening a vote of confidence at the earliest date.

The SC said: In the circumstances that have arisen in this case, the exercise of authority by the Governor was based on circumstances that were legitimate in order to ensure that the standard of collective responsibility was properly preserved.