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Puducherry Political Crisis

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    1st Mar, 2021

Context

The Congress government in the Union Territory of Puducherry has fallen after the Narayanamasy government failed to prove its majority. 

About

What is a floor test?

  • A floor test is a motion initiated by the government seeking to know if it enjoys the confidence of the legislature.
  • It is a constitutional mechanism.
  • A confidence motion or a vote of confidence or a trust vote allows elected representatives to determine if the council of ministers (CoM) commands the confidence of the House.
  • The idea behind the trust vote is to uphold the political accountability of the elected government to the state legislature.
  • A no-confidence motion, or vote of no-confidence, or a no-trust vote, can be sought by any House member to express that they no longer have confidence in the government.
  • The chief minister, in the case of a coalition government, may be asked to move a vote of confidence and win a majority.
  • The governor may call for a special session to see who has the majority to form the government in the absence of a clear majority, when there is more than one individual staking claim to form the government.
  • Some legislators may be absent or choose not to vote. The numbers are then considered based only on those MLAs who were present to vote.

How is the voting done?

These are the modes by which voting can be conducted:

  1. Voice vote: In a voice vote, the legislators respond orally.
  2. Division vote: In case of a division vote, voting is done using electronic gadgets, slips or in a ballot box.
  3. Ballot vote: Ballot box is usually a secret vote - just like how people vote during state or parliamentary elections.

What is the role of Speaker?

  • The speaker conducts the floor test.
  • The main duty of the speaker is to administer the oath to the newly elected members of the house and to overlook the resignation of the members of the house. The role of the speaker is crucial during a confidence vote.
  • In case of a tie, the speaker, by convention, can cast its vote.

Constitutional provision

  • Article 356 of the India Constitution provides the if governor of a state feels that there has been a breakdown of constitutional machinery in a state, he can request the President of India to take direct control of the state, which is called the ‘President’s Rule’.
  • The Governor is appointed by the President with the advice of the council of ministers.
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