What's Next? Decoding #MaharashtraPolitics and Constitutional Jargons


Once again, Eknath Shinde’s rebellion has spotlighted the governor's role in calling for Floor Test.


Article 174(2)(b) of the Constitution of India states that the Governor gradually dissolve the Legislative Assembly. He has the power to dissolve the Assembly on the aid and advice of the cabinet. Here comes the concept of “Trust Vote”.


A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta concluded that a Governor can call for a trust vote if he has arrived at a prima facie opinion that the incumbent State Government has lost its majority in the Assembly.


The intention behind Trust Vote is to enable the elected representatives to determine whether the Council of Ministers commanded the confidence of the House. This situation arose when MLAs in the Jyotiraditya camp had defended the BJP and then the Congress Chief Minister Kamal Nath had asked the Governor to dissolve the Assembly. He called for a floor test.

When the House is in session, the Speaker calls for a floor test. But when the Assembly is not in session, the Governor’s residuary power under Article 163 allows him to call for a floor test.


What will happen in Maharashtra’s case?

  • Here, Governor BS Koshyari will finally decide whether the MVA government has the numbers to stay in power. If the government is pushed into a minority, Uddhav Thackeray will have to step down. If he fails to do so, the Governor may ask him to go for the floor test.


  • Secondly, the Shinde-lead group may approach the Koshyari and plead for support from the BJP. Here, the Governor can ask the government to prove its majority on the floor.


According to the provision of the Anti-Defection Act, the Shinde-led faction will be disqualified if the number of defecting Sena MLAs is less than two-thirds of its strength in the assembly (55), which comes to 37. However, the faction can be treated as an actual legislative group of Shiv Sena if they succeed to gather 37 members and thus avoid disqualification. If disqualified, the MLAs will have to face elections.


A 2013 Supreme Court judge rules that governors are not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, headed by a CM when they believe that dissolving the assembly is not in the interest of the nation.


Another crucial provision that dwells on the powers of a governor is enshrined under Article 174. Article 174 (1) lays down that a governor shall summon the House of a state legislature at a time and place as they think fit. Article 174(2)(a) authorises a governor to prorogue the House from “time to time” while Article 174 (2) (b) empowers them to dissolve the legislative assembly.


Now, the actual picture will clear in near future!