Manipur: Congress seeks special session for repeat trust vote alleging violation of rules
Manipur government had won a trust vote by voice vote on August 10Updated: Aug 14, 2020 23:16 IST
Alleging “procedural lapses” in the no confidence motion won by Manipur’s BJP-led government on August 10 through a voice vote, opposition Congress on Friday requested Governor Najma Heptullah to convene a special session of the state assembly for another trust vote.
In a memorandum submitted to the Governor, former chief minister and leader of opposition, Okram Ibobi Singh, said the rulings of Speaker Y Khemchand Singh during the voting on August 10 are “arbitrary and illegal” and violated Rules 311 and 360 of Rules and Procedure of Conduct of Business in Manipur assembly as well as Supreme Court orders.
“The decision of the Speaker to use ‘voice vote’ in deciding an important motion on vote of confidence is contrary to the clear orders of Supreme Court to adopt division, raise of hands and counting the members physically to ascertain the exact number of MLAs voting for or against the motion,” the memorandum said.
The N Biren Singh government was declared to have won the trust vote through a voice vote after 28 members of the ruling coalition expressed confidence in the government against 16 from the opposition side (8 Congress MLAs remained absent).
“Voice vote, which is based on vocal assent of members, does not convey the exact number of MLAs supporting or opposing the motion, and hence it is unreliable in important motions like confidence motion,” the memorandum said.
“By disallowing division of the House by the Speaker, the purpose of ascertaining if any member of Congress MLA voted against the whip/direction issued by the party whip was defeated,” it added.
Congress alleged that Speaker Singh committed “serious procedural lapses” by not following the laid down provisions of the rules of conduct of business in the Manipur assembly as well as directions of the Supreme Court. A voice vote despite objections by the opposition also violated provisions of 10th Schedule of Constitution, the memorandum said.
“You are requested to summon a special session of the assembly under Article 174 of the Constitution to consider, debate and vote on the ‘motion of confidence’ in the council of ministers headed by N Biren Singh afresh as the (earlier) voting was inconclusive,” said the memorandum.
The 60-member Manipur assembly’s strength was reduced to 53 after 4 members were disqualified under anti-defection law and 3 BJP MLAs resigned.
On the day of the trust vote on August 10, six Congress MLAs submitted their resignations to the Speaker. Resignations of five of them were accepted reducing the total strength of the assembly to 48 at present.