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What is a floor test or trust vote?

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is a floor test or trust vote?

What to study?

For Prelims: What is it? How is it carried out?

For Mains: Significance and the need for this procedure.

 Context: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has requested Governor Lalji Tandon to hold a floor test in the Assembly session starting from March 16, on a date fixed by the Speaker.

What is a floor test or trust vote?

A floor test is a constitutional mechanism. It is used to determine if the incumbent government enjoys the support of the legislature.

How it takes place?

  1. This voting process happen in the state’s Legislative Assembly or the Lok Sabha at the central level.
  2. Technically, the chief minister of a state is appointed by the Governor. The appointed chief minister usually belongs to the single largest party or the coalition which has the ‘magic number’. The magic number is the total number of seats required to form a government, or stay in power. It is the half-way mark, plus one. In case of a tie, the Speaker casts the deciding vote.
  3. However, at times, a government’s majority can be questioned. The leader of the party claiming majority has to move a vote of confidence.
  4. If some MLAs remain absent or abstain from voting, the majority is counted on the basis of those present and voting. This effectively reduces the strength of the House and in turn brings down the majority-mark.
  5. The voting process can happen orally, with electronic gadgets or a ballot process.
  6. The Governor can also ask the Chief Minister to prove his or her majority in the House if the stability of the government comes into question.

Composite floor test:

While there is another test, Composite floor test, which is necessitated when more than one person stake the claim to form the government and the majority is not clear.

Governor may call a special session to assess who has the majority. The majority is counted based on those present and voting and this can be done through voice vote also.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Floor test vs Composite floor test.
  2. Majority required to form the govt.
  3. Voting during floor test.
  4. Appointment of Chief Minister when there is clear majority vs Hung assembly.
  5. Can speaker cast his vote?

Mains Link:

Ambiguity in the law on conducting floor tests often lead to abuses and misuses. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.