President’s Rule

President’s Rule in Puducherry

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Puducherry, President's Rule

Mains level : Presidents' Rule

The Union Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Home Ministry to dissolve the Puducherry Assembly and impose President’s Rule in the Union Territory.

Try this question from CSP 2017:

Q.Which of the following is 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 & 2 only

(b) 1 & 3 only

(c) 2 & 3 only

(d) 1, 2 & 3

What is President’s Rule?

  • President’s rule is the suspension of state government and imposition of direct central government rule in a state.
  • This is achieved through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
  • Under Article 356, this move can be taken “(1) If the President, on receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution…”

How long President’s Rule can last?

  • A proclamation of President’s Rule can be revoked through a subsequent proclamation in case the leader of a party produces letters of support from a majority of members of the Assembly and stakes his claim to form a government.
  • The revocation does not need the approval of Parliament.
  • Any proclamation under Article 356 —which stands for six months — has to be approved by both Houses in the Parliament session following it.
  • This six-month time-frame can be extended in phases, up to three years.

Conditions for Prez Rule

  • Where after general elections to the assembly, no party secures a majority, that is, Hung Assembly.
  • Where the party having a majority in the assembly declines to form a ministry and the governor cannot find a coalition ministry commanding a majority in the assembly.
  • Where a ministry resigns after its defeat in the assembly and no other party is willing or able to form a ministry commanding a majority in the assembly.
  • Where a constitutional direction of the Central government is disregarded by the state government.
  • Internal subversion where, for example, a government is deliberately acting against the Constitution and the law or is fomenting a violent revolt.
  • Physical breakdown where the government willfully refuses to discharge its constitutional obligations endangering the security of the state.

Notable judgements: The S.R. Bommai Case

Bommai v. Union of India (1994) was a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, where the Court discussed at length provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution of India and related issues.

  • The judgement attempted to curb blatant misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India, which allowed the President’s rule to be imposed over state governments.
  • Article 356 (1) has been deliberately drafted in a narrow language by the Founding Fathers so that political parties in the Centre does not misuse it to subvert federalism, it had noted.
  • The President has to be convinced of or should have sufficient proof of information with regard to or has to be free from doubt or uncertainty about the state of things indicating that the situation in question has arisen.
  • The court had stated that although the sufficiency or otherwise of the material cannot be questioned, the legitimacy of inference drawn from such material is “certainly open to judicial review”.

What was its verdict?

  • The judgment had explained that in a multi-party political system, chances are high that the political parties in the Centre and the State concerned may not be the same.
  • Article 356 cannot be used for the purpose of political one-upmanship by the Centre.
  • Hence there is a need to confine the exercise of power under Article 356[1] strictly to the situation mentioned therein which is a condition precedent to the said exercise,” the court had said.

Fouling factors

The imposition of President’s Rule in a state would be improper under the following situations:

  • Where a ministry resigns or is dismissed on losing majority support in the assembly and the governor recommends imposition of President’s Rule without probing the possibility of forming an alternative ministry.
  • Where the governor recommends imposition of President’s Rule without allowing the ministry to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly.
  • Maladministration in the state or allegations of corruption against the ministry or stringent financial exigencies of the state.
  • Where the state government is not given prior warning to rectify itself except in case of extreme urgency leading to disastrous consequences.
  • Where the power is used to sort out intra-party problems of the ruling party.

Back2Basics: Puducherry

  • Puducherry is a union territory formed out of four territories of former French India, namely Pondichéry (Pondicherry; now Puducherry), Karikal (Karaikal), Mahé and Yanaon (Yanam), excluding Chandannagar.
  • It is named after the largest district, Puducherry.
  • The areas of Puducherry district and Karaikal district are bound by the state of Tamil Nadu, while Yanam district and Mahé district are enclosed by the states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, respectively.
  • It is entitled by a special constitutional amendment act of 1962 to have an elected legislative assembly and a cabinet of ministers, thereby conveying partial statehood similar to the UT of Delhi.
  • It is administered by a Lieutenant Governor.
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