Confidence in the House 

Confidence in the House 

What has happened?

The Speaker has enough powers to restore order in the Lok Sabha and act upon a notice for a no-trust vote

The issue

  • About three weeks ago, several members of Lok Sabha gave written notices to the Speaker for a no-confidence motion against the current council of ministers
  • The rules of procedure require the Speaker to verify whether 50 Members of Parliament support the motion by asking them to stand at their seats and taking a count
  • Since March 16, the Speaker has every day expressed her inability to count the members supporting the motion as some members were shouting slogans and showing placards in the well of the House.

A primary function

  • Parliamentary processes recognise the primacy of the no-confidence motion
  • These processes cannot be undertaken when the very legitimacy of the government is being questioned.
  • Thus, if there are any notices for the no-confidence motion, the Speaker has to verify whether there are at least 50 MPs who support its introduction, and then fix a time for discussing it
  • It is this process that has been stalled. 

What can the Speaker do if some MPs are not allowing the House to function? 

  • Duty bound to verify: She is duty bound to verify whether there are 50 members in the House who support its introduction
  • Removal of disruptive MPs: She can ask these MPs to return to their seats, failing which they can be named and asked to withdraw from the House. If they don’t, they can be forcibly removed 

A long tradition

  • Till now, there have been 26 no-confidence motions
  • Many of these were symbolic in nature, such as the first one against Jawaharlal Nehru in 1963
  • On all these occasions, the no-confidence motion was given priority over all other business. It is this tradition that the Speaker must follow.

Undermining our democratic structure

The inability of Parliament to function and to test the support for the government undermines the very basis of our democratic structure


The Speaker has the responsibility of ensuring that the House functions and taking whatever steps are necessary — including suspension of members, if needed – to ensure order and check whether there is requisite support to admit the debate on the no-confidence motion.

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