Explained: Supreme Court orders Maharashtra floor test tomorrow, what next?

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News:Recently,the Supreme Court has ordered a floor test in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

Facts:

About the Floor Test:

  • A floor test is the determination on the floor of the House whether the Chief Minister commands the support of the majority of the MLAs. 
  • This can be done by means of a voice vote or by recording the vote of each MLA in the House.This determination of majority is done in a sitting of the legislature for which the legislature has to be convened.

Who orders the convening of the Legislative Assembly? 

  • Under the Constitution,the Governor convenes the session of the legislature. 
  • But on multiple occasions in the past,the Supreme Court has ordered the convening of the Assembly to hold the floor test.

Who conducts the floor test in the Legislative Assembly?

  • The proceedings of a legislature are presided over by the Speaker.
  • Often, in cases where an immediate floor test is ordered,the election of the Speaker is taken up after the conclusion of the floor test. 
  • However,in the absence of a Speaker,the Governor appoints one of the MLAs as the pro tem Speaker to perform the duties of the Speaker.

Selection of Pro term Speaker:

  • The Constitution gives the Governor’s discretion in the selection of pro tem speaker. 
  • On many occasions,Governors have appointed the most tenured MLA in the Assembly as the pro tem Speaker. However,this is only a convention with which Governors have broken in the past.