Supreme Court upholds MP governor’s floor test call

The Supreme Court  held that the governor of a state was well within their rights to call for a floor test during an assembly session. The ruling upheld Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon’s decision asking the then Kamal Nath-led Congress government to prove majority, said;

  • There was no impediment to a governor asking a chief minister to prove majority if he had good reasons to believe so.
  • The division bench also added that a governor can exercise this power not just when a state assembly is in a crisis but during a sitting assembly as well.
  • However, the two judges observed in the order that the court is entitled to determine whether in calling for the floor test, the governor did so on the basis of “objective material and reasons which were relevant and germane to the exercise of the power

Supreme Court in the Bommai case ruled on the centrality of the floor test as against the governor’s discretion when the majority support for an incumbent government was questioned;

In State of West Bengal and Ors. v. Sallendra Nath Bose the court ruled that  the immunity granted by Article 361(1) to Governor does not, however, take away the power of the Court to examine the validity of the action including on the ground of mala fides.The same is reiterated by  Apex Court in Bommai Case where it had been clarified that Article 74(2) allows for any such advice given by the Council of Ministers to the President of India to be reviewed by the Supreme Court under Article 13 of the Constitution.


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