The floor test for Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to prove his majority in the assembly will be conducted on Wednesday, the Supreme Court has directed.
Stating that it is necessary to have a floor test to avoid horse trading, the apex court on Tuesday also asked Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to appoint a pro-tem speaker and ensure that all elected members of the House are sworn in on Wednesday itself.
The entire exercise will be telecast live and has to be completed by 5 pm, said a bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.
Voting in the assembly shall not be on the basis of secret ballot, it said.
The governor will administer oath to the newly elected members.
“In the present case, oath has not been administered to the newly elected MLAs…In the present scenario, to avoid horse trading, it is necessary to have a floor test to determine the majority in the house,” the bench said.
“We are of the considered opinion that the governor should ensure a floor test,” it said.
The apex court concluded the brief proceedings by saying that replies to the main petition filed by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the governor’s decision to swear Fadnavis as chief minister will be done in eight weeks.
The court said it was necessary to pass an interim order for a floor test to uphold democratic values and the citizens’ rights to good governance.
It was imperative for the court to be cognisant of the prevailing circumstances, the bench added.
Keeping in mind constitutional morality, the bench observed that the oath has not been administered to the elected members even after a month of results being declared in the state.
The top court also said for a stable government in the state, the floor test has to be conducted as soon as possible and the governor should appoint a pro-tem speaker for administering oath to the elected members.
In the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly, the BJP is the single-largest party with 105 MLAs, followed by the Shiv Sena (56 MLAs), the NCP (54 MLAs) and the Congress (44 MLAs).