DH Deciphers: On trust vote and governor's intervention

DH Deciphers: On trust vote and governor's intervention

Governor Vajubhai Vala. (DH Photo)

The Assembly on Thursday began to debate the trust vote moved by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, but with the JD(S)-Congress members seen to be filibustering to delay the vote, Governor Vajubhai Vala sent a message to the Speaker to ensure voting is completed by Thursday night. The effect was the opposite: the ruling combine members raised a ‘point of order’ on the Governor’s intervention, and the House was eventually adjourned.

In response, the Governor has directed the Chief Minister to take the trust vote by 1.30pm on Friday. The trust vote debate will resume in the Assembly today (Friday).

Can the Governor issue a directive/ suggestion to the speaker of the Legislative Assembly?

Yes, he can. The Constitution allows him to. Article 175(2) of the Constitution empowers him to send messages to the Speaker/House.

When can he give such directions/send a message?

As per the above provision, the Governor can do so on two different occasions. The provision says: “The Governor may send messages to the House or Houses of the Legislature of the State, whether with respect to a bill then pending in the Legislature or otherwise, and a House to which any message is so sent shall, with all convenient despatch, consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration.”

Is the Governor required to send the message/direction in written form?

The Constitution has not expressly said anything on this question. Thus, he is allowed to send a message through his emissary to the Speaker, as Governor Vala did. In other words, a verbal message will do. 

What if the Speaker refuses to oblige the Governor’s directive?

Again, the Constitution does not expressly say anything on this issue. But it is generally understood that the Speaker is the ‘master’ of proceedings in the House.
What are the powers of the Governor with regard to the legislature?

It is mainly to convene the session of the legislature, address the legislature and promulgate ordinances.

Is there any recent history of a Speaker being given a direction what to do in the House?

In 2016, the Supreme Court directed in the Speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly to conduct floor test to test the majority of then chief minister Harish Rawat.

So, how has the Governor responded to his message to the Speaker being disregarded?

Hours after the House was adjourned on Thursday, the Governor directed Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to take the trust vote by 1.30 pm on Friday. The Governor can so direct the Chief Minister, but then what happens in the Assembly is still the prerogative of the Speaker. Now, let’s see what happens.