“No-Confidence Motion” Matters 

Context: Member of Parliament Gaurav Gogoi submitted the no-confidence motion against the government, which was accepted by the speaker.

Need of No Confidence Motion (NCM) 

In India’s cabinet form of government, the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. The rules of Lok Sabha provide for the mechanism of a no-confidence motion 

Need for NCM 

  • To test whether the Council of Ministers continues to enjoy the confidence of Lok Sabha.
  • NCM is used by Opposition parties essentially to hold the government accountable.
  • Even if it may not lead to the fall of government it will result in productive debate in parliament about government policies and program. 
  • It reflects the discontent prevailing in the masses through their representative and may lead to government taking cognisance of it.
  • According to Nehru it is good for governments to be tested from time to time, It is a sign of healthy democracy.

Issue With NCM 

  • Rajya Sabha does not have this special device to make government accountable. 
  • After the passing of the Anti-defection law whips became binding on the member and if ruling party enjoys majority, it is impossible to pass a NCM in the house.  
  • Partisan role of speaker in accepting NCM.
  • Frequent use of this exceptional device may lead to disruption in the normal functioning of the house and can cause political instability in the nation.

Non-confidence motion 

  • The motion can be moved only in the Lok Sabha. It cannot be moved in the Rajya Sabha. 
  • Any member of the Lok Sabha can move a no-confidence motion. 
  • But the motion must be supported by at least 50 members of the House.

Constitutional Provision

Article 75(3) of the Indian constitution states that:

  • The Council of Ministers shall be responsible to the House of the People.

Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Lok Sabha says that 

  • A member must move a written notice before 10 am, which will be read out by the speaker within 10 days (about 1 and a half weeks) of the written motion being submitted. 
  • Once the speaker reads out the motion in the House and a minimum of 50 members have supported it, the speaker gives a date or dates for discussion of the motion.

History of Non-confidence motion in India 

Time Prime Ministers and Motions 
1963The first no-confidence motion was moved against the Jawaharlal Nehru government in 1963 by Acharya J.B. Kripalani over the prime minister’s China policy, immediately after the 1962 war.
1964-65Lal Bahadur Shastri government faced two non-confidence motions in 1964-1965, N C Chatterjee said while moving NCM“There is a crisis in every sphere. Honestly, there is a crisis in social, political, economic and other spheres and for all this I hold this government mainly responsible.”  
1966-75Indira Gandhi government faced the greatest number of no-confidence motions in the history of independent India, with 12 motions during her tenure from 1966-75.
1978-79Morarji Desai government faced two no-confidence motions. While he won the first one, the discussion on the second remained inconclusive but led to the fall of his government.
1981-82Indira Gandhi government faced three NCM in her second tenure.
1987Rajiv Gandhi government faced NCM once. 
1992-1993PV Narshima Rao government faced three no-confidence motions and defeated all of them.
2003Atal Bihari Vajpayee government faced a no-confidence motion and defeated the motion.
2018Narendra Modi government defeated his first no-confidence motion.

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