The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday ordered the newly-elected executive council of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam to prove its majority in a floor test on or before December 26.
The HC order by Justice Suman Shyam came 10 days after results of the polls to the council were announced following a petition filed by Hagrama Mohilary, the former chief executive member (CEM) of BTC and president of Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) challenging formation of the executive council.
“The process of election of a CEM is a democratic process. Therefore, it can’t be denied that the newly appointed CEM would be under a constitutional obligation to prove his majority on the floor of the house,” the HC order read.
BPF had emerged as the single largest party winning 17 of the 40 seats to which election was held this month. But United Peoples’ Party Liberal, which won 12, along with Bharatiya Janata Party (9) and Gana Surakha Party (1) came together to cobble up a majority. The lone Congress member joined BJP later.
Accepting the coalition’s claim, Governor Jagdish Mukhi asked UPPL, BJP and GSP to form the new executive council. On December 15, president of UPPL, Pramod Boro took oath as the new CEM of BTC.
The Governor later nominated 6 other members to the council taking the total strength of BTC to 46.
Miffed at not being called to form the executive council despite BPF emerging as the single largest party, Mohilary had approached the HC seeking relief. The petition also sought nomination of the 6 members to be declared as invalid.
Admitting the petition, the HC had asked BTC on December 18 to maintain status quo and fixed December 22 as the next date of hearing.
“A composite floor test so as to prove the majority of the respondent no. 1 (Pramod Boro) vis-à-vis the petitioner no. 1 (Hagrama Mohilary), in the opinion of this court, would be the best way to resolve the issue. I am therefore of the view that a ‘composite floor test’ should be held on or before 26/12/2020,” Tuesday’s HC order read.
The court also ordered that since rules mention about the presence of elected members in a meeting to prove majority, the voting rights of the 6 nominated members shall remain suspended till the floor test is held.
Justice Shyam directed newly elected CEM Pramod Boro not to take any major policy decision till the holding of the floor test.
The next date of hearing on the petition has been fixed on January 11.
Meanwhile, wary of the other side poaching its elected members both BPF and the new ruling coalition of BTC have kept their members under surveillance since declaration of results and not allowed them to move freely or make calls.