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What next in Maharashtra?

Topics Covered:

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


What next in Maharashtra?


What to study?

For Prelims: Role if governor in case of a hung assembly.

For Mains: Implications and challenges involved.


Context: Term of current government in Maharashtra ends tomorrow.

It has been two weeks since the results of the Assembly election were announced, but no party has staked claim yet to form a government. While the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance has a clear majority, they have been wrangling over power-sharing and the Chief Minister’s post.


What next?

While the existing Legislative Assembly will cease to exist post November 9, legal experts noted that there is no binding that the government should be in place by that day.


What is the Governor’s role in such circumstances?

The Governor would be expected to go as per an order of preference set out in the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, which have also been ratified by the Supreme Court. By the order of preference, the Governor can invite:

  1. A pre-poll alliance of parties.
  2. Invite the single largest party which stakes a claim to form government.
  3. Invite a post-poll alliance of parties, with all the partner in the coalition joining the government.
  4. Invite a post-poll alliances of parties, with some becoming part of the government and some supporting from outside.

The Governor can only summon the new House for the first sitting only after a new government is sworn in and the Cabinet has suggested a suitable date. The process of swearing-in of the newly elected members and appointment of the new Speaker can be held thereafter.


What after swearing in?

  1. Once any formation is sworn in, it will need to pass the floor test, which will reveal whether the executive enjoys the confidence of the legislature as mandated by the Constitution.
  2. In the floor test, the person sworn in as the CM has to prove that s/he enjoys the confidence of the House. If the confidence motion fails, the Chief Minister has to resign.
  3. If more than one person stake claim to form the government and the majority is not clear, the Governor has the powers to call a special session to assess who has the majority.
  4. The date for the floor test is decided by the Governor in consultation with the new government.


If no government can be formed, is President’s rule likely?

Article 356 of the Constitution provides for the imposition of President’s Rule in a state in “case of failure of the constitutional machinery in the state”.

As per the constitutional stipulation, it can be imposed in cases where the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the state or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

In Maharashtra‘s case, if the Governor is satisfied that no party or alliance can form a stable government would he recommend imposition of President’s rule.


Sources: Indian Express.