Floor Test Mandate: Upholding Democratic Values in the Case of Governor v. Maha Vikas Aghadi Alliance

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has addressed the matter of Governor v. Maha Vikas Aghadi Alliance, highlighting the necessity of a floor test to safeguard democratic values. The case revolves around the conduct of a floor test to determine majority support in the House, ensuring transparency and stability in governance. Let’s delve into the details of this crucial legal decision.


  • The oath of office and secrecy was administered to Mr. 3 and Mr. 4 at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai on 23.11.2019.
  • The matter was heard on 24.11.2019 as no single party had the requisite majority in the House after election results.
  • A pre-poll alliance between BJP and Shiv Sena was known before the Fourteenth Maharashtra Legislative Assembly elections.
  • President’s Rule was recommended by the Governor on 12.11.2019 and imposed by a Presidential Proclamation the same day.
  • Governor’s efforts to seek NCP’s willingness to form Government was unsuccessful.
  • On 23.11.2019, President’s Rule was revoked, and the Governor invited Shiv Sena to form the Government.
  • BJP declined to form Government on 10.11.2019 after alliance breakdown with Shiv Sena.
  • Shiv Sena showed willingness to stake claim with majority support.
  • Petitioners approached the Court on 23.11.2019 challenging Governor’s action of inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form Government.
  • Prayers in the petition include declaring Governor’s action unconstitutional and to invite Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance to form Government.
  • Interim directions sought include special session of the Assembly for oath taking and floor test, video recording of proceedings, and appointment of a pro-tem Speaker.
  • Petitioners were in discussions to form coalition government, press conference held on 22.11.2019.
  • Petitioners filed affidavit indicating urgency for hearing on 23.11.2019.
  • On 09.11.2019, Governor called BJP to indicate willingness to form Government as single largest party with 105 seats.
  • Court issued notice after hearing the parties.

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  • Petitioner’s argument that Respondent 4 was not authorized to form an alliance with Respondent 3.
  • Petitioner’s request for a floor test to prove majority in the House.
  • Call for the senior most member to assume role of pro-tem Speaker for transparency during the floor test.
  • Criticism of Governor’s acceptance of government formation proposal based on an unaddressed letter from NCP members.
  • Solicitor General’s willingness to produce relevant records from the Governor if needed.
  • Opposition by Senior Counsel representing BJP MLAs and two independent MLAs.
  • Governor’s satisfaction based on the support indicated by the material submitted.
  • Governor’s reliance on letters from Respondent 3 and 4 to form his decision.
  • Agreement from both parties on conducting a floor test.
  • Petitioner’s claim that the Governor’s actions suggest mala fide intentions.
  • Conducting a floor test is at the discretion of the Speaker.
  • The Court cannot sit in appeal over the Governor’s order to set dates for the floor test.
  • No interim order can be passed in the matter.
  • Jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution cannot be invoked in this matter.
  • Governor’s independence should be respected.
  • Additional time to file affidavits in response might not be necessary at this stage.

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  • The Council of Ministers must test its confidence on the floor of the House in case of doubts.
  • The Governor can request the Chief Minister to prove majority if majority support is lost.
  • The Sarkaria Commission, Rajmannar Committee, and Committee of five Governors support the idea of testing majority on the floor of the House.
  • The Governor cannot assess his own acts, especially in matters raised in the present Petition.
  • It is crucial to uphold democratic values and consider the competing claims of parties at this interim stage.
  • Constitutional morality needs to be upheld by constitutional functionaries to curb undemocratic and illegal practices.
  • The loss of confidence in the House should be demonstrated on the floor of the House.
  • Notice of the Assembly meeting for 11-3-2005 is constituted by this Court’s order, no separate notice needed.
  • Oath has not been administered to elected members despite a month passing since the election results.
  • The Court emphasized the importance of a floor test to strengthen democratic values and constitutional norms.
  • A floor test was ordered to be held immediately to prevent horse-trading and protect democratic principles.
  • Previous cases like S.R. Bommai v. Union of India and G. Parmeshwara v. Union of India were referenced to support the mandatory nature of a floor test.
  • Specific directions were given for conducting the floor test, including video recording the proceedings and announcing the results truthfully.
  • The Court highlighted the duty of the State and its officials to ensure compliance with the directions for conducting a fair floor test.
  • Historical cases like Jagdambika Pal v. Union of India and Anil Kumar Jha v. Union of India were cited to underscore the significance of a peaceful and timely floor test.
  • Officers or members of a State legislature with powers for regulating procedure, conduct of business, or maintaining order are not under the jurisdiction of any court for exercising those powers.
  • Interim directions need to be passed to curtail unlawful practices like horse trading
  • Conducting a floor test is necessary to determine Chief Minister’s majority support
  • The aim is to ensure stable Government and avoid uncertainty in democracy

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  • The Pro-tem Speaker will conduct a floor test after twelve weeks to ascertain if Original Name has the majority.
  • The proceedings must be live telecast and appropriately arranged.
  • Eight weeks time is granted to respondents’ counsel to file counter affidavits.
  • Rejoinder affidavit, if any, to be filed within four weeks thereafter.
  • A floor test must be held on 27.11.2019 before 5:00 p.m. with all members taking oath on the same day.
  • The floor test will not be by secret ballot and the Pro-tem Speaker will oversee the process.
  • The result of the floor test to be reported on 27-2-1998 at 10:30 a.m. to the Bench.
  • The order shall serve as notice to all MLAs and no major decisions by the current Government until then, except routine matters.
  • Proceedings in the Assembly must be peaceful, with strict security arrangements overseen by the State’s Director General of Police.


Case Number: W.P.(C) No.-001393 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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