Madhya Pradesh Floor Test on Friday

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N. P. Prajapati, the state's Governor Lalji Tandon and Chief Minister Kamal Nath arrive at the state assembly for the Budget Session amid uncertainty over holding a floor test; in Bhopal on March 16, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N. P. Prajapati, the state's Governor Lalji Tandon and Chief Minister Kamal Nath arrive at the state assembly for the Budget Session in Bhopal. (Photo: IANS)
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In a major setback to the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the floor test in the Legislative Assembly be held on Friday and the proceedings be completed before 5 p.m…reports Asian Lite News

Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS) by .
Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS)

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justice Hemant Gupta passed the order and asked MP Assembly, which was adjourned on March 16, to reconvene on Friday for the Trust vote.

It said the test is essential to the political uncertainty in the state. The bench also directed the Karnataka DGP to provide security to 16 rebel Congress MLAs who may want to attend the floor test.

“Voting would be by show of hands. Will be video graphed and live telecast if possible,” said the top court.

The Congress was hoping for the floor test to be held only after the Speaker takes a call on the resignation of 16 rebel Congress members of the assembly.

Before lunch break, the Bench said that it was not inclined to create a situation by giving two weeks time to Speaker N.P. Prajapati to decide on the resignations of 16 rebel Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh, as this gap period could become a ‘gold mine’ for horse-trading.

The bench expressed its unwillingness to facilitate or create any kind of political situation which leads to horse trading in the ongoing political crisis in Madhaya Pradesh.

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Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly contended before the court “please give me two weeks time to decide. Let the rebel MLAs come back to MP, to their homes”.

The apex court observed the Madhya Pradesh political crisis have become a national problem, not peculiar to Congress.

The court emphasized that irrespective of political parties, the Speaker’s do not decide such issues, where MLAs have offered resignation, in a time-bound manner.

Singhvi insisted that the rebel MLAs present themselves before the Speaker in Bhopal and then he would take a decision on their resignation within two weeks.

The bench proposed that the rebel MLAs could also be asked to present themselves before the Speaker at a neutral venue through video conferencing.

However, this suggestion was opposed by the Speaker’s counsel contending that no direction could be given to him to decide on the resignation in a time-bound manner.

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The bench reiterated would the Speaker agree to the court appointing an observer to find out the free will of 16 rebel MLAs on their resignations. And, this process could be easily carried out through a video-conferencing, which would enable the Speaker to take a decision whether to accept or reject resignations within a day.

Speaker’s counsel insisted that even the apex court cannot abrogate his power by asking to take a decision in a time-bound manner.

The bench insisted that delay in taking a decision would eventually lead to horse trading and it does not want such a situation to arise.

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N. P. Prajapati, the state's Governor Lalji Tandon and Chief Minister Kamal Nath arrive at the state assembly for the Budget Session amid uncertainty over holding a floor test; in Bhopal on March 16, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N. P. Prajapati, the state’s Governor Lalji Tandon and Chief Minister Kamal Nath arrive at the state assembly for the Budget Session in Bhopal. (Photo: IANS)

The bench queried the Speaker’s counsel on Governor’s powers, and asked whether the House was in session and then if the incumbent government lost majority, under these circumstances, would the Governor have the power to direct the Speaker to hold trust vote on the floor of the House.

The Speaker’s counsel said the Governor cannot decide whether the government has lost majority or not.

Singhvi said: “The Governor has only three powers — to summon, to prorogue and to dissolve the House.

“Governor cannot decide whether the government has lost majority or not, it is for the House to decide on this issue.”

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