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.
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.
In the 1970s & 1980s, it almost became common practice for the central govt. to dismiss state govts led by opposition parties.
Article 356 has always been the focal point of a wider debate of the federal structure of government in Indian polity.
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.
The Court in the Bommai case, narrowed down the circumstances and the manner in which such powers could be exercised.
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.
Concedes he has total immunity for acts done in official capacity.
In a 316-page counter-affidavit filed in Supreme Court, Ministry of Home Affairs cites political stability is imperative in the border state.
Governors are expected to rise above party positions and proclivities, not to magnify them.
There are clearly laid out procedures to settle disputes over House majority and constitutional heads ought to stay away from political manipulations.
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.