Free Press Journal

No Confidence Motion Explained: What is a No Confidence Motion, first defeated motion and all you need to know



Today, on July 20, the Narendra Modi government is facing its first no-confidence motion. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday, the first day of the Monsoon Session, accepted the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition parties against the Modi government. All eyes are set on the PM Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. Rahul Gandhi leads the opposition’s charge and claims to expose the failure of the government over the past 50 months. While the PM is expected to reveal how the Congress and other opposition parties are working with an aim of dislodging him from the power. The Congress hopes to reveal the fault lines of the ruling government and also of those supporting them in its ‘misdeeds’. Both the BJP-led NDA government and the Congress-led opposition are confident of their own victory in the no-confidence motion that began today in Lok Sabha. The no-confidence motion began on 11 am on July 20, and the debate will be carried till 6 pm. The vote will take place around 8 pm. According to the PTI, the issues are cow vigilantism, lynching, atrocities against women and Dalits and alleged dilution of the SC/ST act.

This is the 27th no-confidence motion in the parliamentary history while the last one was faced by the Vajpayee led government moved by Sonia Gandhi.

What is a ‘No-Confidence Motion’?
As per Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, any member of the house can move a no-confidence motion. The motion can be moved only in Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha. If any member of the House feels that the government in power does not have a majority then he/she can move a no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers. If the motion is accepted by a minimum of 50 members, then the party in power has to prove its majority in the House. If the motion gets less than 50 votes then it is not accepted. The member need not give a reason for moving the no-confidence motion. Within 10 days of the motion is accepted a day/multiple days/a part of the day is announced by the speaker to discuss the motion. Thereafter, a discussion takes place on the motion. Members who support the motion highlights the government’s shortcomings while the government in power responds to them. At the end of the motion, a specific time is allotted to cast the votes.

Article 75(3) in The Constitution of India 1949 (3) states, ‘The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People’.

First ‘no-confidence’ motion
The first ever no-confidence motion was moved by Acharya Kripalani in August 1963 against the Jawaharlal Nehru led government. The debate of the motion lasted for 21 hours over four days and was participated by 40 MPs. In 1952, the Rules of Lok Sabha introduced a ‘no-confidence’ motion could be moved with the support of 30 MPs. Not a single no-confidence motion was moved during the next two Lok Sabhas.

In the past
The second no-confidence motion was moved a year later in 1964 by an independent MP NC Chatterjee against the Lal Bahadur Shastri’s government. The other PMs who faced the motion are Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao. Indira Gandhi faced maximum numbers of no-confidence motion which is 15.

What happens when the opposition wins?
If the leading government loses the ‘confidence motion’ then the government has to resign.

Defeated motion
In 1979, the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Morarji Desai moved by YB Chavan led to the falling of the government. The motion lasted for nine-hours and was spread over two days. It was the first no-motion that led to the falling of a government. Since then, every Prime Minister has been able to defeat a no-confidence motion.