Governor is justified in asking Kamal Nath to prove majority in the House

Lalit Shastri

A Chief Minister, who is appointed by the Governor, can be asked by the Governor to prove majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly of the State and that’s what Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon has done by writing a letter to Chief Minister Kamal Nath and asking him to win a vote of confidence and prove majority support on Monday 16 March.

The Madhya Pradesh Governor has cited the resignation of 22 ruling Congress MLAs and the entire sequence of related developments to point out that prima facie, Chief Minister Nath has lost majority support.

The resignation issue notwithstanding, it is important to go for a trial of strength for the Chief Minister to prove majority since there is no Constitutional provision for a minority government in a State.

Powers of Governor

Article 161 of the Indian Constitution says “The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor …..”.
Further, according to Article 164 (1), The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.

The Supreme Court of India had ordered chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in May 2018, to go for a floor test in the Karnataka assembly to prove his majority in the House.

As far as the resignation by rebel Congress MLAs in Madhya Pradesh is concerned , Article 190 (3) (b) states that a member of the State Assembly ceases to be a member if he /she “resigns seat by writing under his hand addressed to the speaker or the Chairman (of the Legislative Council), as the case may be, and his resignation is accepted by the Speaker…” [Provided that in the case of any resignation referred to in sub-clause (b), if from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation.]

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