The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that a floor test be conducted at 4 pm tomorrow to determine whether the day-old BS Yeddyurappa government has the support of the requisite number of MLAs to continue in government.
Presently, the BJP is eight seats short of a majority of 112 while the Congress-JD(Secular) coalition claims to have the support of 116 members. The BJP will have to persuade the newly formed alliance’s lawmakers to defect to its side, resign or abstain from voting, if the Yeddyurappa government is to surivive.
Governor Vajubhai Vala had given 15 days to BJP to prove their majority. However, the Supreme Court has ordered that the floor test be conducted on May 19 following an appeal filed by the Congress and the JD(S).
The Supreme Court bench gave clear-cut four-step instructions for holding the floor test for ascertaining the majority or otherwise of the Yedyurappa government. It enumerated the four steps that have to be followed for holding the floor test, directing the immediate appointment of the pro-tem Speaker, holding the oath ceremony for all elected members tomorrow. This exercise has to be completed before 4 PM when the floor test will be held to ascertain the majority.
What is a floor test?
A floor test is primarily taken to know whether the executive enjoys the confidence of the legislature. It is a constitutional mechanism under which a Chief Minister appointed by the Governor can be asked to prove majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly of the state. As per the Constitution, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor of the state.
When a single party secures the majority of the seats in the house, the Governor appoints the leader of the party as the Chief Minister. In case the majority is questioned, the leader of the party which claims majority has to move a vote of confidence and prove majority among those present and voting. The Chief Minister has to resign if they fail to prove their majority in the house. This happens both in the parliament and the state legislative assemblies.
In situations when there are differences within a coalition government, the Governor can ask the Chief Minister to prove majority in the house.
What is composite floor test?
There is another test, Composite Floor Test, which is conducted only when more than one person stakes claim to form the government. When the majority is not clear, the governor might call for a special session to see who has the majority. The majority is counted based on those present and voting. This can also be done through a voice vote where the member can respond orally or through division voting. Some legislators may be absent or choose not to vote.
In division vote, voting can be done through electronic gadgets, ballots or slips. The person who has the majority will form the government. In case of tie, the speaker can also cast his vote.
What is Pro-tem Speaker’s role?
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday appointed BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker ahead of floor test in the state assembly tomorrow.
Pro-tem speaker is a temporary speaker appointed for a limited time period to conduct the works in Lok Sabha or in state legislatures. When the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies have been elected, but the vote for the speaker and deputy speaker has not taken place, the pro-tem speaker is chosen for the conduct of the house.