What exactly is a trust vote?

July 20th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) A trust vote is a motion through which the government of the day seeks to know whether it still enjoys the confidence of parliament. A trust vote is sought either during the first session of a newly-elected Lok Sabha if it is not clear whether a party or a grouping of parties command a majority in the house, or at any time during the five-year tenure of the house if it becomes apparent that the government of the day has lost its majority.

There have been eight trust votes in the past 29 years, with the government of the day winning six. In two instances, the prime minister of the time quit before facing the house.

In the present case, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be moving a trust motion Monday, which will be voted on Tuesday after a debate, following the withdrawal of support by the Left parties on the India-US nuclear deal.

While the deal, or any other issues will not be specifically mentioned in the motion, it definitely will figure during the two-day debate.

Thus, inflation and the spiralling prices of consumer goods will most certainly figure during the debate.

Soon after the Left withdrew its support, Manmohan Singh called on President Pratibha Patil and offered to seek a trust vote in parliament.

Had he not done so, it would have been for the president to decide on whether to allow the prime minister to continue in office.

There are no express provisions on this in the constitution and the president is expected to act in a manner consistent with tradition and which furthers democracy.

Since the prime minister holds office during the pleasure of the president, a prime minister can be removed if the president is satisfied that a trust vote is called for but is not being sought.

The government would be expected to resign if it loses a trust vote. If it refuses, the president has the power to remove the prime minister. In the Indian parliamentary history so far, no prime minister has been forcibly removed.

In practice, no government would refuse to resign after losing a trust vote.

If a government loses a trust vote and resigns, the president will ask it to continue as a caretaker government, with theoretically the same powers it had before the vote.

As per convention, such a government would not take any major policy decisions since parliament would stand dissolved ahead of general elections.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |