Governors cannot precipitate the fall of elected governments: Supreme Court

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Source: The post is based on the article “Governors cannot precipitate the fall of elected governments: Supreme Court” published in The Hindu on 16th March 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has questioned the Maharashtra governor’s rationale in calling for a trust vote that led to the resignation of the Chief Minister.

What was the issue about?

A political crisis erupted in Maharashtra in 2022. After this, the then-governor of Maharashtra asked the Chief Minister to face a floor test to prove his majority. 

The Supreme Court had refused to stay the Maharashtra governor’s direction to the government to take a floor test in the assembly to prove its majority.

However, the Chief Minister resigned before the floor test in the face of imminent defeat paving the way for the appointment of a new chief minister.

In this context, the Supreme Court made observations on the role of the Governor.

What are the observations made by the court on the role of the Governor?

Governors must exercise their powers with the “greatest circumspection” and must not lend their offices to trigger a particular result.

Governors seriously undermine democracy if they use their constitutional office to call for a trust vote citing dissension within a ruling political party and precipitating the fall of a legitimately established and functioning government.

The Governor cannot ask for a trust vote when there is absolutely nothing to shake the majority on the floor of the House. The trust vote is not for determining who is to be the leader of the House. Governor’s trust vote is where the majority in the House is shaken.

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