President’s Rule

Opposition calls for President’s Rule in Manipur


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: President Rule

Mains level: Read the attached story

manipur president rule
PC: The Hindu

Central Idea

  • A political party has called for the dismissal of the state government in Manipur and immediate imposition of President’s Rule to initiate a peace process under a neutral administration.

What is President’s Rule?

  • Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, commonly known as President’s Rule, empowers the President to impose central rule in a state where the constitutional machinery has broken down.
  • While initially intended for extraordinary circumstances, it has often been misused by central governments for political purposes.

Provisions of Article 356:

  • Imposition of President’s Rule: Article 356 allows the President to withdraw the executive and legislative powers of a state government when it cannot function in accordance with the Constitution.
  • Triggering factors: The President can invoke Article 356 based on a report from the Governor or suo motu if the constitutional machinery has broken down in the state.
  • Duration: It can be imposed for six months at a time, with a maximum duration of three years.
  • Parliamentary approval: Every six months, Parliament’s approval is required to continue the imposition of President’s Rule.

Historical Origins

  • Inspiration from the Government of India Act, 1935: Article 356 was inspired by Section 93 of this act, which allowed the Governor of a province to assume the powers of the government under certain circumstances.
  • Controlled democracy: The provision provided some autonomy to provincial governments while enabling British authorities to exercise ultimate power when necessary.

Political Misuse of Article 356

  • Early instances: During Congress dominance, Article 356 was used against governments of the Left and regional parties in states. Jawaharlal Nehru’s government utilized it six times until 1959, including to dislodge Kerala’s elected communist government.
  • Increasing misuse: In subsequent decades, Article 356 was used frequently against state governments by various central governments, including those led by Indira Gandhi and the Janata Party.

Landmark Judgment: S R Bommai Case

  • Landmark Supreme Court ruling: In the 1994 R. Bommai v. Union of India case, the Supreme Court provided detailed guidelines on the use of Article 356.
  • Specific instances for imposition: The court stated that President’s Rule can be invoked in cases of physical breakdown of the government or a ‘hung assembly.’
  • Curbing arbitrary use: The judgment emphasized the need to give the state government a chance to prove its majority or instances of violent breakdown before imposing President’s Rule.

Try this PYQ:

Which of the following are not necessarily the consequences of the proclamation of the President’s rule in a State?

  1. Dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly
  2. Removal of the Council of Ministers in the State
  3. Dissolution of the local bodies

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 1 and 3

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Post your answers here. 
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