President’s Rule

[op-ed snap] Under the cover of President’s Rule

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : President's rule

Mains level : Misuse of Art 356

Abrogation of Art 370

  1. Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 superseded the Order of 1954
  2. Passage of a statutory resolution in Parliament recommending the declaration of Article 370 as inoperative 
  3. Adoption of a resolution accepting the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 
  4. Issuance of a notification by the President declaring Article 370 inoperative. 

Problem with president rule

  1. He also suspends portions of the Constitution such as Article 3. J&K constitution has an additional proviso which says J&K’s legislature has to give its consent to any altering of its boundaries or size or name. But the Presidential proclamation suspended this.
  2. During the period, decisions that a popular regime would never make may become possible.
  3. Even suits instituted by the State against other States or the Centre under Article 131 may be withdrawn or claims against it conceded.
  4. The power of a State Assembly to ratify Constitution amendments may be exercised by Parliament.
  5. Assembly may be denied the opportunity to give its views on a proposal to alter the boundaries of the State. In the case of J&K, the consent of its legislature was mandatory, but the State Assembly’s consent was given by Parliament itself. 

Constitution and Judiciary

  1. A presidential proclamation is subject to judicial review after the Supreme Court verdict in S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India (1994). 
  2. The scope for judicial intervention is limited to the adequacy and relevance of the material on the basis of which the President believes that governance of a State cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution. 
  3. It said the initial exercise of the power is limited to taking over the executive and legislative functions without dissolving the Assembly. Once Parliament approves the proclamation, the Assembly may be dissolved.
  4. Courts have always emphasised that States remain ‘supreme’. They are not “mere appendages of the Centre”. There are certain functions that the States alone can do. 

Essential restraint

  1. Ensure that the power is invoked only with the objective of restoring constitutional governance in the State, and not to exercise absolute powers to change policies, laws and programmes of the state.
  2. Article 356 does not give a blanket power to the President or Parliament to alter any matter in which the political leaders and the electorate of the State have a legitimate stake.

Unless these implied limitations on the way the President or Parliament performs the functions of a State under Central rule, no State law or policy is safe.

 

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President’s Rule

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