‘Governor Can’t Call For Trust Vote Just Because…’: SC Remarks On Shiv Sena Case

The Supreme Court while making an observation on Wednesday, March 15 on the then Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s role in the 2022 Maharashtra political crisis said that calling for a trust vote merely on the ground of differences between MLAs of a ruling party can topple an elected government, reported news agency PTI.

“The Governor must be conscious that calling for a trust vote may lead to the toppling of the government,” said a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud.

The observations by the judges were made after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the former Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari narrated the sequence of events and said there were various materials before the governor that prompted him to order a trust vote in the assembly.

“Difference of opinion among MLAs within a party can be on any ground like payment of development fund or deviation from party ethos but can that be a sufficient ground for the governor to call for the floor test? Governor cannot lend his office to effectuate a particular result. Calling for a trust vote will lead to toppling of the elected government,” the bench said, as reported by PTI.

B S Koshyari, who was then the governor of Maharashtra, had asked the Maha Vikas Aghadi party government led by Uddhav Thackeray to face a floor test to prove its majority. Thackeray, however, resigned sensing defeat and paved way for Eknath Shinde to be appointed as the new chief minister of the state.

The bench, also comprising Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha while hearing the argument said that a letter by the leader of opposition does not matter in the instant case because he will always keep on writing that the government has lost majority or MLAs are not happy, PTI reported.

“The only thing is that a resolution of 34 MLAs which said that there was widespread discontent among the party cadres and legislators….Is this sufficient ground to call for a trust vote? Although, in hindsight we can say that Uddhav Thackeray had lost the mathematical equation,” the bench hearing the argument said.

“But the fact is the governor cannot enter this domain which would precipitate the matter. People will start ditching the ruling party and governors being willing allies would end up toppling the ruling party. This will be a sad spectacle for democracy,” the court further observed. 

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