A Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha and it remains in office till it enjoys confidence of majority of the members in Lok Sabha. Thus, a motion of no-confidence is moved to remove the council of ministers and thus oust the government from office.
While Article 75 of the Indian Constitution specifies that the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People – there is no mention of a no-confidence motion. All it indicates is that the majority of Lok Sabha members must be with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.
Article 118 of the Constitution permits each house of Parliament to make its own rules for conduct of business. Rule 198 of the Lok Sabha specifies the procedure for a motion of no-confidence. Any member may give a written notice before 10 am; the Speaker will read the motion of no-confidence in the House and ask all those favouring the motion to rise. If there are 50 MPs in favour, the Speaker could allot a date for discussing the motion – but this has to be within 10 days. However, this cannot be done in conditions of din or confusion in the House.
Conditions of a no-confidence motion:
- A no-confidence motion can be moved only in the Lok Sabha (or state assembly as the case may be). It cannot be moved in the Rajya Sabha (or state legislative council);
- It is moved against the entire Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister and not individual ministers or private members; and,
- It needs support of at least 50 members when introduced in the Lok Sabha.
Censure Motion and No-confidence motion:
- Both censure motion and the no-confidence motion can be moved in the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembles;
- While the no-confidence motion is moved against the entire council of ministers, censure motion can be moved against individual ministers or members; and,
- The Government of the day is not impacted by the censure motion being passed by the House whereas it has to resign if a no-confidence motion is passed.
History of No-Confidence Motion
-The First No-Confidence Motion was moved in the Lok Sabha by Acharya Kriplani against the the Congress government led by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru in August 1963.
-So far over 30 no-confidence motions have been moved.
-15 no-confidence motions were moved against the government led by Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
-In the History of Indian Parliament, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the first ever to lose a no-confidence motion in India in 1999.
– In 1990, when V P Singh had tabled a motion of confidence and a member had given the notice for a no-confidence motion, the Speaker had given precedence to government business and taken the motion of confidence.