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The Case that changed the fate of President’s Rule

The indiscriminate use of President’s rule to thwart away the state governments who did not meet the ideology of Union led to the landmark verdict in the S.R. Bommai vs Union Of India, 1994, which curtailed the misuse of Article 356.


Article 356, what? 

Under Article 356, the President can dismiss a State Government or dissolve a State Assembly or keep it under suspended animation in the event of a failure of the constitutional machinery in that State.

Lets know the background of the case, shall we?

In the 1970s & 1980s, it almost became common practice for the central govt. to dismiss state govts led by opposition parties.

  • The Indira Gandhi regime and post-emergency Janata Party were noted for this practice.
  • Indira Gandhi’s government between 1966-1977 is known to have imposed President’ rule in 39 times (not states).
  • In 1989, Karnataka CM S.R. Bommai was denied an opportunity to test his majority in the Assembly by the Governor and his govt. was dismissed.

What do the Constitutional Experts have to say on Art. 356?

Article 356 has always been the focal point of a wider debate of the federal structure of government in Indian polity.

  • Dr. B R Ambedkar had envisaged that Art. 356 shall remain the dead letter in the Indian constitution.
  • The Sarkaria Commission on central-state relations has recommended that Article 356 must be used very sparingly, in extreme cases, as a measure of last resort, when all the other alternatives fail to prevent or rectify a breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.

What was the S.R. Bommai case?

S.R. Bommai vs Union of India, delivered in March 1994, had sharply limited the constitutional power vested in the Central Government to dismiss a State government.

SC established strict guidelines for imposing President’s rule. This case laid down the conditions under which State govts may be dismissed, and mechanisms for that process.

In terms of the legality of the imposition of President’s Rule in States under Article 356, the SC in this case overruled its own precedent in the case of State of Rajasthan v Union of India 1977 case.

Let’s briefly understand the State of Rajasthan v Union of India 1977 case

  • SC held that the power of the President to impose President’s Rule is not above and beyond judicial review entirely.
  • The court might insist on substantial evidence in support of the Centre’s charges against a state if the latter accuses the Centre of acting mala fide.

The Court in the Bommai case, narrowed down the circumstances and the manner in which such powers could be exercised.

What are conditions for the valid exercise Article 356?

There was a shift in constitutional jurisprudence as the principle of federalism was part of the basic structure of the Constitution, and this principle could only be deviated from in exceptional and extraordinary circumstances, i.e. where constitutional rule was not possible in the State.

  • The majority enjoyed by the Council of Ministers(CoM) in the state shall be tested on the floor of the house and not subjectively decided by the Governor.
  • Center shall give a warning and a time-period of 1 week to the concerned state.
  • Courts cannot question the advice tendered by the CoM to the President, but court can scrutinizethe material basis of the satisfaction of President.
  • Until the proclamation is approved by the Parliament, President shall not take any irreversibleaction, i.e. he should not dissolution of assembly.
  • Courts have the power to reverse the actions of President, if the Art. 356 is used inappropriately.
  • Art. 356 shall be used sparingly, otherwise it will destroy the constitutional balance between the Center & States.
Published with inputs from Pushpendra | Image: Frontline

Any doubts?


  1. Anirudh Aggarwal

    the explained part should address the following issues as well:

    1. is 356 being misused despite bommai judgement? It yes, why?
    2. what is the way forwards to limit the misuse?
    3. how president’s rule affects federalism?

[op-ed snap] Do we need the office of the Governor?

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Polity| Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features.

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: The GoI Act 1935, Appointment of the Governor

Mains Level: Evolution of the Post of Governor, Issues related to his discretionary powers.


Context

Role of governor

  1. Inviting the immediate majority party to form the government is perhaps a legitimate exercise of Governors constitutional discretion.
  2. However, the recent Karnataka elections have raised questions about the Governor’s discretionary powers following several open criticisms about the office bearer
  3. If we want to put an end to the continuous misuse of the Raj Bhavan for partisan political ends in a manner that threatens both federalism and democracy, we have to rethink the role of the Governor in the constitutional scheme

Where does the flaw lie?

  1. Some have suggested that the post of the Governor be reserved for non-political appointees, and still, others have urged the Supreme Court to lay down the law on how the Governor ought to act when an election yields a fractured verdict
  2. All of these, however, are patchwork solutions that miss the point
  3. For that, it is important to understand the origins of the office in the colonial British regime

Provisions in Govt. of India Act, 1935

  1. Through the course of the early 20th century, the Indian nationalist movement managed to extract gradual and incremental reforms towards responsible government from the British rulers
  2. These reforms culminated in the Government of India Act, 1935 which established provincial legislative assemblies elected from a limited franchise
  3. In order to ensure that overriding power remained with the British, the Act retained the post of Governor (a holdover from the old, “diarchy” system), and vested him with “special responsibilities” that, in essence, allowed for intervention at will

The Critique of the Post

  1. In a searing critique, K.T. Shah (who was later one of the most articulate members of the Constituent Assembly), wrote that the Governor would inevitably be biased in his functioning and his actions would remain at odds with those of popularly elected Ministers
  2. During CA debates, it was pointed out that the Articles dealing with the powers of the Governor were almost verbatim reproductions of the 1935 Act.

Defenders of the office raised two broad arguments:

  1. First, that there was a dearth of competent legislators in the States
  2. Second that a certain amount of centralization of power was necessary in a nascent state such as India

The way forward: Specify the rules

  1. The idea of the Governor standing as a bulwark against secessionism, or providing legislative expertise to States otherwise starved of it, are no longer valid justifications
  2. On the other hand, the Governor’s interference with the democratic process is both real and continuing
  3. As history shows, the solution is not to tinker around the edges or hope that the courts will come to our rescue

What is the S.R. Bommai case, and why is it quoted often?

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Polity| Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Particulars of the SR Bommai Case Judgement, Art. 356

Mains Level: Issues about the use and misuse of Art. 356. (Attached story will help understand the issue better)


News

Who was S.R. Bommai?

  1. S.R. Bommai was the Chief Minister of the Janata Dal government in Karnataka between August 13, 1988 and April 21, 1989
  2. His government was dismissed on April 21, 1989, under Article 356 of the Constitution and President’s Rule was imposed, in what is then a mostly common mode to keep Opposition parties at bay
  3. The dismissal was on grounds that the Bommai government had lost majority following large-scale defections engineered by several party leaders of the day
  4. Then Governor P. Venkatasubbaiah refused to give Bommai an opportunity to test his majority in the Assembly despite the latter presenting him with a copy of the resolution passed by the Janata Dal Legislature Party

What happened then?

  1. Bommai went to court against the Governor’s decision to recommend President’s Rule
  2. First, he moved the Karnataka High Court, which dismissed his writ petition
  3. Then he moved the Supreme Court

What did the Supreme Court do?

  1. The case, which would go on to become one of the most cited whenever hung Assemblies were returned, and parties scrambled to form a government, took almost five years to see a logical conclusion
  2. On March 11, 1994, a nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court issued the historic order, which in a way put an end to the arbitrary dismissal of State governments under Article 356 by spelling out restrictions

What did the judgment say?

  1. The verdict concluded that the power of the President to dismiss a State government is not absolute
  2. The verdict said the President should exercise the power only after his proclamation (imposing his/her rule) is approved by both Houses of Parliament
  3. Till then, the Court said, the President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly by suspending the provisions of Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly
  4. The dissolution of Legislative Assembly is not a matter of course
  5. It should be resorted to only where it is found necessary for achieving the purposes of the Proclamation

What happens if the Presidential proclamation is not approved by the Parliament?

  1. In case both Houses of Parliament disapprove or do not approve the Proclamation, the Proclamation lapses at the end of the two-month period. In such a case, the government which was dismissed revives
  2. The Legislative Assembly, which may have been kept in suspended animation gets reactivated
  3. Also, the Court made it amply clear that a Presidential Proclamation under Article 356 is subject to judicial review.

What is the significance of the S.R. Bommai vs Union of India case?

  1. The case put an end to the arbitrary dismissal of State governments by a hostile Central government
  2. And the verdict also categorically ruled that the floor of the Assembly is the only forum that should test the majority of the government of the day, and not the subjective opinion of the Governor, who is often referred to as the agent of the Central government

When the verdict’s impact was first seen?

  1. In one of the first instances of the impact of the case, the A.B. Vajpayee government in 1999 was forced to reinstate a government it dismissed
  2. The Rabri Devi government, which was sacked on February 12, 1999, was reinstated on March 8, 1999, when it became clear that the Central government would suffer a defeat in the Rajya Sabha over the issue
  3. And later whenever the case of a hung Assembly, and the subsequent exercise of government formation, came up, the Bommai case would be cited, making it one of the most quoted verdicts in the country’s political history

Governor’s discretion cannot be arbitrary or fanciful: SC Constitution Bench

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Art. 180(1), Powers and discretion of Pro-tem Speaker

Mains level: Frequent issues concerned with Hung Assembly


News

Appointing a pro-tem Speaker

  1. Article 180 (1) of the Constitution gives the Governor the power to appoint a pro-tem Speaker
  2. The Article says that if the chair of the Speaker falls vacant and there is no Deputy Speaker to fill the position, the duties of the office shall be performed “by such member of the Assembly as the Governor may appoint for the purpose”
  3. The Supreme Court ordered the appointment of a pro-tem Speaker to conduct a floor test to decide the majority in the hung Karnataka Assembly

Article 180 (1) is silent about the extent to which the Governor can use his discretion

  1. The Governor’s appointment of Mr. Bopaiah is being defended by quoting Article 163(2) of the Constitution
  2. The latter part of this Article mandates that “the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion

What SC ruled out in Nabam Rebia Judgement, 2016

  1. The Rebia case dealt with the problem of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor advancing the date for the sixth Assembly session in the northeastern State.
  2. The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court led by then Chief Justice J.S. Khehar in the Nabam Rebia judgment of 2016 ruled that Article 163 does not give Governors a “general discretionary power” as is often misunderstood
  3. The area for the exercise of his (Governor) discretion is limited
  4. Even this limited area, his choice of action should not be arbitrary or fanciful. It must be a choice dictated by reason, actuated by good faith and tempered by caution
  5. In his speech on the constitutional role of Governors, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar described how a Governor should use his discretion not as “representative of a party” but as “the representative of the people as a whole of the State” 

Issues with the Speaker’s Appointment

  1. One of the issues which may arise is whether or not the discretion of the Governor can be judicially reviewed by the Supreme Court
  2. But a Constitution Bench judgement in 2006 in the Rameshwar Prasad Case has held that the “immunity granted to the Governor under Article 361 (1) does not affect the power of the Court to judicially scrutinise the attack made to the proclamation issued under Article 361(1) of the Constitution of India on the ground of mala fides or it being ultra vires”

Justified the Powers of Pro-tem Speaker

  1. The powers of a pro-tem Speaker are wide
  2. The Bombay High Court in its 1994 judgment in the Surendra Vassant Sirsat Case holds that a pro-tem is Speaker of the House “for all purposes with all powers, privileges and immunities” until the Speaker is elected
  3. The Odisha High Court also agreed in the Godavari Misra versus Nandakisore Das, Speaker, Orissa Legislative Assembly case when it said the powers of the Speaker pro-tem are co-extensive with the powers of elected Speaker
  4. The proceedings of the Legislature chaired by the Speaker pro-tem are as much protected under the Constitution as those chaired by the elected Speaker

The Problem of Hung Assembly

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Recommendations of Sarkaria and Punchhi Commissions

Mains level: The newscard discusses the solution over the issue of frequent instances of hung assembly due to lack of clear majority. The Supreme Court Ruling also serves as a great solution for this concern


Context

Frequent instances of hung assembly

  1. The growing instances of a hung assembly are on the rise, with the recent example of Karnataka Assembly mandate where there is lack of clear majority
  2. The Constitution of India does not mandate any procedure to be followed by the Governor, in case of hung assembly
  3. This gives scope for the Governor to use his discretion. She/he has the discretion to invite any leader to form the government
  4. But she/he must make a choice keeping in mind the leader’s ability to prove his majority on the floor of the House, and to provide a stable government
  5. Ironically the Governor has no option except to invite the new coalition, which had a “clear majority” in the House

The peculiarity of recent cases

  1. Even though a party did not have a majority in the Assembly, and wasn’t the single-largest party either.
  2. But it still returned to power after the post-poll alliance
  3. Example: Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya

Recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission

  1. The central government set up the Justice R S Sarkaria Commission in June 1983 to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments
  2. The Commission, which dealt with the role of Governors, suggested that in choosing a Chief Minister, the Governor should be guided by the following principles:
  • The party or combination of parties that command the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called to form the government
  • The Governor’s task is to see that a government is formed — and not to try to form a government that will pursue policies that he approves
  • If no party has a majority, the Governor has to invite: a) a pre-poll alliance, b) the largest single party that is able to gain majority support, c) a post-election coalition that has the required members, d) a post-election coalition in which partners are willing to extend outside support

3. The Commission recommended that the Chief Minister must seek a vote of confidence in the Assembly within 30 days of taking over

4. It also said the Governor should not risk determining the issue of majority support outside the Assembly, and that the prudent course would be to have the claims tested on the floor of the House

Recommendations of the Punchhi Commission

  1. A Commission headed by former Chief Justice of India M M Punchhi was set up in April 2007 to take a fresh look at the roles and responsibilities of governments at various levels, and the relations between them
  2. The Commission recommended that there should be clear guidelines for the appointment of Chief Ministers so that there was some sort of regulation on the discretionary power of the Governor
  3. It said that a pre-poll alliance must be treated as one political party, and laid down the order of precedence that the Governor must follow in case of a hung House:
  • Group with the largest pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number;
  • Single largest party with support of others;
  • Post-electoral coalition with all parties joining the government;
  • Post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government, and the remaining, including Independents, supporting from outside

Way Forward: When Supreme Court backed Governor’s discretion in Goa

  1. The opposition contended that since there was no pre-poll alliance, the Governor should have first asked the single largest party if it was in a position to form the government
  2. The SC ruled that-
  • If the single largest party has the majority, then no such question has to arise
  • But when no political party is in majority, then it is the bound duty of the Governor to see who can form the government
  • If nothing happens, then the Governor is duty-bound to call the leader of the single largest party but if someone goes to the Governor with a list of supporters, then it is a different issue altogether

3. The Supreme Court also ordered a floor test, saying that the “instant sensitive and contentious issue can be resolved by a simple direction, requiring the holding of a floor test at the earliest

4. The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility

Speaker facing disqualification can’t disqualify MLAs, says SC

  1. News: A Speaker should refrain from deciding the disqualification of MLAs for defection under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution if he/she him/herself is facing the prospect of removal, the Supreme Court has held
  2. A Constitution Bench observed that the ruling was a safeguard against a Speaker using the disqualification proceedings of legislators for his/her own political ends
  3. A Speaker, under the threat of losing his position, may choose to disqualify the MLAs to alter the composition of the House in his/her favour
  4. Therefore, the above was made constitutionally impermissible under Article 179 of the Constitution

SC quashes Arunachal Governor’s order

  1. News: Supreme Court unanimously quashed Arunachal Pradesh Governor’s decision to advance the Assembly session from January 14, 2016 to December 16, 2015
  2. The Governor’s move had triggered political unrest and culminated in the declaration of President’s rule on January 26
  3. First time SC used its powers of judicial review to restore a government when its successor government is still in place
  4. Future: The Bench directed the immediate imposition of status quo ante as on December 15, 2015
  5. This means that the present government headed by Khaliko Pul would have to step down to make way for the return of Congress-led Nabam Tuki government to power
  6. Context: The Arunachal Pradesh Governor had decided in December to topple Nabam Tuki’s government

Second floor test a possibility: SC

  1. Context: SC would separately hear petition filed by disqualified MLAs
  2. SC: After hearing the petition, if it favours disqualified MLAs, there will be second floor test
  3. Argument: MLAs were disqualified after proclamation of President’s Rule but Speaker has no authority to disqualify after President’s rule

President’s Rule lifted, Rawat to be CM again

  1. Context: Former CM, Mr. Rawat, has won floor test conducted by SC
  2. The principal secretary presented the result of vote to SC

SC appoints official for floor test

  1. Context: SC has given order to appoint Principal Secretary to conduct trust vote
  2. Aim: to conduct vote in objective and neutral manner
  3. Principal Secretary: An official of Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs
  4. Criticism: No confidence of neutrality as he is from staff of speaker

Advantage Rawat as SC bars Congress rebels from voting

  1. Context: SC ordered that disqualified member can’t give their votes during floor test
  2. The members were disqualified by the speaker under the 10th schedule of constitution
  3. Allegation: Horse trading

Floor test in Uttarakhand on May 10

  1. Context: Floor test will be conducted in Uttarakhand on 10th May
  2. This is according to the Supreme court’s order to end controversy over proclamation of President’s Rule
  3. No status quo ante: When President’s rule is lifted, Mr. Rawat would not automatically be restored as CM
  4. Earlier: HC ordered to restore Former CM before Floor test
  5. If Former CM fails to prove majority, Governor can call leader of majority system

Centre ‘seriously considering’ floor test

  1. Context: Govt has taken the SC’s suggestion on Floor Test
  2. Earlier: Govt had given challenge to Uttarakhand HC’s decision on floor test
  3. Former CM: Requested SC to specify that Floor test is on a vote of Confidence Motion
  4. AG: Floor test will be opportunity to both the parties to prove majority

SC favours trust vote in Uttarakhand

  1. Context: SC suggested Govt to conduct the floor test by lifting the President’s Rule in Uttarakhand
  2. Why? To end the Constitutional crisis
  3. SC: Floor test is the ultimate test to decide the majority
  4. Floor test & President’s cannot be at a same time
  5. So, suggesting lifting President’s rule for three day

Who can question authority of the Speaker, asks SC

  1. Context: SC questioned Uttarakhand Govt on questioning the speaker’s authority
  2. Background: Money bill was passed by Uttarakhand government on March 18
  3. Govt: Insisted the non passage of Money bill
  4. SC: No one can question the Speaker’s authority as assembly records show that Money bill was passed
  5. State emergency is continued in Uttarakhand, so as to maintain status quo

Uttarakhand HC sets aside President’s Rule

  1. Context: The Uttarakhand High Court quashed the Union government’s order imposing President’s Rule on the State
  2. HC: The situation must be viewed on a larger canvas of democracy, federalism and the rule of law
  3. The soul of the matter is whether it is open to the Central govt to get rid of State govts

President’s decision open to judicial review: HC

  1. Context: Uttarakhand HC Hearing on a petition challenging the imposition of President’s Rule
  2. Govt: President took the decision to impose A 356 in his political wisdom
  3. President’s understanding of the material before him would be different from that of the court
  4. HC: People go wrong, be it President or the judges & there can’t be ‘absolutism’ in a decision
  5. Legitimacy of the inference drawn by President is open to Judicial Review

Imposition of Central rule undemocratic: SC

  1. Context: Uttarakhand High Court, hearing the case on the imposition of President’s rule in the State
  2. HC: Questioned the need for the Central government to intervene in State matters, unless in extraordinary cases
  3. Floor test: The decision on whether Govt would topple or stay could have been decided by the floor test
  4. Haste: Centre has ‘cut at the roots of democracy’ by showing haste in imposition of President’s rule

President’s rule in Uttarakhand

  1. News: The Centre brought Uttarakhand under President’s rule, as per Article 356 of the Constitution
  2. The Assembly has been placed under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet
  3. Reason: The Union Cabinet has cited constitutional breakdown in the wake of a rebellion in the ruling Congress
  4. There were allegations of horse trading against the ruling govt. along with controversial passing of Appropriation Bill by speaker

SC declines to intervene in Arunachal political impasse

  1. Context: Supreme court is hearing the constitutional validity of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh
  2. News: The SC declined to intervene in the Arunachal Pradesh political controversy
  3. Centre has indicated that it was in favour of withdrawing President’s Rule in the State to make way for a new govt
  4. Reason: Centre has argued that there cannot be a constitutional vacuum just because the SC is hearing the case

Can Governor intervene in Speaker’s disqualification powers?

  1. Context: SC was questioning the Governor’s interventions in the wake of Speaker disqualifying rebel Congress MLAs
  2. Court’s Question: How can the Governor take away the constitutional powers of the Speaker to disqualify lawmakers on the grounds of defection?
  3. Court’s Observation: Governor has no role to play in issues prescribed in Tenth Schedule of Constitution

Was it discretion or mere whim, SC asks Governor

  1. Context: Governor used his constitutional discretion to advance the 6th session of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly by over a month
  2. Court’s Question: Whether it was backed by sound constitutional principles or based on a mere whim
  3. Constitutional Principles: Under Art. 174(1), Governor can summon the house, but the question before the bench is whether this power can be used unilaterally by Governor
  4. The other question before the bench is that whether Governor is bound by aid and advice of Counicl of ministers before advancing the assembly session

Governor cannot pre-empt CM’s powers: court

  1. Context: SC hearing on the President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Issue: The court is looking into whether there was any relevant material to justify the imposition of emergency in the state by the President
  3. Observation: The Governor cannot pre-empt the powers exclusively granted by the Constitution to the Chief Minister and his Council
  4. The Governor should use his powers in a fair and limited manner for the sake of survival of democracy

Supreme Court recalls notice to Arunachal Pradesh Governor

Concedes he has total immunity for acts done in official capacity.

  1. Just a few days after ordering Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to respond why he recommended President’s rule in the sensitive border State, the SC recalled the order.
  2. The turn of events was triggered by Attorney-General, for the Centre, drawing the Bench’s attention to Article 361 (1) of the Constitution.
  3. This gives the President and the Governor protection from legal action.
  4. Under the Article, both the President and the Governor of a State “shall not be answerable to any court” for acts done in performance of their powers and duties.

Central rule in Arunachal is in national interest: Govt.

In a 316-page counter-affidavit filed in Supreme Court, Ministry of Home Affairs cites political stability is imperative in the border state.

  1. Recurrent insurgency, Chinese claims, a communal Chief Minister and a document signed by a “majority” 34 MLAs urging for President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh are factors listed by the Centre.
  2. To justify the proclamation of emergency in the sensitive border State on Republic Day.
  3. The Centre said President’s rule was imposed on Arunachal Pradesh in the interest of the country.
  4. The country cannot afford a whiff of instability in the State.
  5. Which has seen recurrent insurgency as well as attempts by China to claim large parts of its territory.

Raj Bhavan dharma: Constitutional duty of governors

Governors are expected to rise above party positions and proclivities, not to magnify them.

  1. The fundamental duty of a governor is to prevent genuine constitutional crises.
  2. They have to perform the dual role of being representative of Union at state and being constitutional head of state with utmost sincerity.
  3. The ruling of S.R. Bommai vs Union of India laid down specific prerequisites for the imposition of Article 356.
  4. The first being a test of the ruling party’s majority on the floor of the House.
  5. To realize the goal of cooperative rather than obstructive federalism, governors have to act in accordance with the norms of constitutional morality.

SC issues notice to Centre on Arunachal issue

  1. The SC sought response from the Centre and AP Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to furnish relevant material backing their claim.
  2. The claim should establish that there has been a failure of constitutional machinery in the sensitive border State.
  3. Congress petition is demanding records culminating in the Union Cabinet’s recommendation for a proclamation of President’s Rule.
  4. Fali Nariman argued that it is only when constitutional governance becomes an ‘impossibility‘ that proclamation under Article 356 is resorted to.

Dilli Pradesh : President’s rule in Arunachal

There are clearly laid out procedures to settle disputes over House majority and  constitutional heads ought to stay away from political manipulations.

  1. While devolution of an increased share of Central taxes and removal of overbearing institutions like the Planning Commission were consistent with the cooperative federalism.
  2. President’s rule goes against the grain of cooperative federalism.
  3. The pattern involves dissidence within the ruling party, the opposition joining hands with the rebels, confusion over the likelihood of a floor test, and the Governor intervening in a partisan manner.
  4. Undoubtedly, there is a constitutional impasse because six months have elapsed since the last time the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly met.
  5. That itself is a valid ground for Central rule.
  6. But events were manipulated in such a way that the divided legislature never got an opportunity to meet and test the government’s majority.
  7. Gauhati High Court ruled that the Governor was justified in advancing the session by acting on his own discretion if he had reason to believe that the Chief Minister and the Speaker were stalling a particular motion.
  8. Same constitutional question is now before the supreme court constitutional bench.

Pranab gives assent to Central rule in Arunachal Pradesh

President signed on the dotted line after being satisfied that the law and order situation in the border State was sensitive to this uncertainty in government.

  1. The Governor [Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa] has been sending multiple reports that even the Raj Bhavan was not safe and there was no law and order in the State.
  2. The political turmoil in the state is set to deepen inside Parliament with the Congress determined to stall the ratification of President’s Rule in the State.
  3. A proclamation of President’s Rule needs to be ratified in both Houses of Parliament within 2 months of notification or whenever the next session of Parliament is held.
  4. This decision of the NDA-led Central government is an attempt to sabotage the Constitutional mandate, which is a threat to democracy.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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