The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 was passed by Lok Sabha yesterday. The Bill will be discussed next by Rajya Sabha. Unlike the Lok Sabha, where the UPA government holds a majority in the House, the composition is different in Rajya Sabha. As on 28th December 2011, the total strength of Rajya Sabha is 243 members . The UPA has a combined strength of 95 members in the House, well below the 50% mark. (Of course, there will be some absent members which will change the arithmetic a bit.) The passage of the Bill thus depends on the stand taken by other political parties and their numbers in the House. Here's how the figures stack up:
|Indian National Congress (INC)||71|
|Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)||7|
|Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)||7|
|All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)||6|
|Jammu and Kashmir National Conference||2|
|Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF)||1|
|Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)||1|
|Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)||51|
|Janata Dal (United)||8|
|Shiv Sena (SS)||4|
|Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)||3|
|Communist Party of India (Marxist)||13|
|Communist Party of India (CPI)||5|
|All India Forward Bloc (AIFB)||1|
|Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP )||18|
|Biju Janata Dal (BJD )||6|
|All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK )||5|
|Samajwadi Party (SP )||5|
|Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD )||4|
|Asom Gana Parishad (AGP )||2|
|Bodoland People's Front (BPF )||1|
|Indian National Lok Dal (INLD )||1|
|Lok Janasakti Party (LJP )||1|
|Mizo National Front (MNF )||1|
|Nagaland People's Front (NPF )||1|
|Telugu Desam Party (TDP )||4|
|Independent and others||6|
Discussion on the first no-confidence motion of the 17th Lok Sabha began today. No-confidence motions and confidence motions are trust votes, used to test or demonstrate the support of Lok Sabha for the government in power. Article 75(3) of the Constitution states that the government is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. This means that the government must always enjoy the support of a majority of the members of Lok Sabha. Trust votes are used to examine this support. The government resigns if a majority of members support a no-confidence motion, or reject a confidence motion.
So far, 28 no-confidence motions (including the one being discussed today) and 11 confidence motions have been discussed. Over the years, the number of such motions has reduced. The mid-1960s and mid-1970s saw more no-confidence motions, whereas the 1990s saw more confidence motions.
Figure 1: Trust votes in Parliament
Note: *Term shorter than 5 years; **6-year term.
Source: Statistical Handbook 2021, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs; PRS.
The no-confidence motion being discussed today was moved on July 26, 2023. A motion of no-confidence is moved with the support of at least 50 members. The Speaker has the discretion to allot time for discussion of the motion. The Rules of Procedure state that the motion must be discussed within 10 days of being introduced. This year, the no-confidence motion was discussed 13 calendar days after introduction. Since the introduction of the no-confidence motion on July 26, 12 Bills have been introduced and 18 Bills have been passed by Lok Sabha. In the past, on four occasions, the discussion on no-confidence motions began seven days after their introduction. On these occasions, Bills and other important issues were debated before the discussion on the no-confidence motion began.
Figure 2: Members rise in support of the motion of no-confidence in Lok Sabha