What is a floor test in the Indian parliament? Explained:
The floor test is typically related to proving the majority ( display of strength of the party or coalition, backed by a number of MPs or MLAs as the case may be). This is an event that occurs when the case is about forming or dissolution of the Government at Union or State level. The purpose behind the floor test is to enquire the question of whether the claimant will be able to provide the people, a stable( in terms of unity) and consistent ( in terms of period i.e.5 years ) government. Why is it important to verify?
A crude example can be taken so that the most unfamiliar person can understand –
. Running a government can be compared to flying a huge airplane in which there are thousands of passengers are sitting. There are so many variables involved such as -maintaining the desired direction, keeping optimum speed, making sure that everyone on the plane is comfortably sitting and enjoying the flight, etc.
Then it is natural to ask whether the crew members are enough in numbers to operate all the functions of the plane. And even more important- have they resolved that they will work together as a single team throughout the flight time and in all conditions? Lest they should give up their duties in mid-air and leave the people vulnerable! So the floor test is done for this purpose at its core. This is why the Constitutional head asks the claimant party – are you enough in numbers? The question of unity and their resolve to work together is implicit in it.
Presently the Governor of Karnataka has invited BJP to prove their majority. Now BJP ( and it’s competing for a coalition of Congress and JDS, later) have to prove that they have the support of the required number ( More than half of the total strength of the assembly) of MLAs ( 112 of them I guess). This proof BJP has to give on the floor of the state assembly hall and nowhere else. This is called the Floor Test. Floor means precisely in the Legislative Assembly Hall to which we also call Vidhan Sabha, on a given date and time.
Similarly, the incumbent governments ( union as well as state) may be asked by the Constitutional heads ( I.e. the President for union government and Governor for state government) to prove their majority when it is doubtful due to substantial grounds. In that case, also the floor test is organized. But this time it is to test whether you have the numbers on your side to stay in the government.