Maharashtra gov’t formation: SC orders floor test

The political juggernaut that appeared to be hurtling at breakneck speed in Maharashtra appears to be sobering down with the Supreme Court passing an order, on Constitution Day no less, directing that a floor test be conducted.

Floor test

On Tuesday November 26, 2019, the SC ruled that the Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government must pass a floor test. The court ruled that all elected members shall take oath and that the exercise should be conducted before 5 PM on Wednesday, November 27. A pro-tem speaker is to be appointed solely for this agenda. The court also ordered that the proceedings should not be conducted via secret ballot and that they should be telecast live.

A three-judge bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjeev Khanna passed the order saying, “Constitutional morality needs to be promoted while finding a way to balance opposing claims. At the interim stage, these issues need to be addressed.” The entire order may be read here:

The order came as a shot in the arm for the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress who had moved SC against the actions of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Governor of Maharashtra, and questioned the validity of the Fadnavis-Pawar government. The late-night machinations that culminated in the early morning swearing in ceremony had ruffled many feathers, especially after corruption charges against Ajit Pawar were dropped in wake of him offering support to the BJP. The entire petition may be read here.

In a subsequent intervention application seeking directions, the petitioners highlighted the alleged “arbitrary and malafide actions” of the governor and asserted that “the Petitioners political alliance constitutes a clear majority in the house.” It further said, “It is most unfortunate that the offices of the Hon’ble President and the Hon’ble Governor have been exploited in a manner as has been sought to be done in the instant case, where not only is a Chief Minister sworn in who hitherto had refused to form the Government for lack of requisite numbers, but to give him that support, defections have been engineered from within other political parties and the perpetrators of such ‘constitutional sins’ have been immediately rewarded, as in the case of Shri Ajit Pawar. Permitting such misuse of their offices, the Hon’ble President and the Hon’ble Governor have reduced the state of the Indian democracy to an abysmal nadir.”

The entire application for directions may be read here.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar welcomed the SC order and tweeted, “I am grateful to Hon’ble SC for upholding democratic values and constitutional principles. It’s heartening that the Maharashtra Verdict came on the #ConstitutionDay, a Tribute to Bharatratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar!”



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