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President’s rule in Arunachal: SC issues notice to Centre

President’s rule in Arunachal: SC issues notice to Centre

The imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh came under the scanner of the Supreme Court which sought the report of Governor J. P. Rajkhowa recommending central rule in the state.

The five-judge bench headed by Justice J S Khehar is examining the constitutionality of President’s rule imposed in Arunachal Pradesh.

Arunachal Pradesh came under central rule under Article 356, with President Pranab Mukherjee giving assent to the Union Cabinet’s recommendation on such a course following political instability in the state.

Article-356 & President Rule

  • Article 356, is one of the articles among the Emergency provisions of the Indian Constitution.
  • It is an Article in part XVIII (Articles 352-360).
  • It is inspired by sections 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935, which provided that if a Governor of a province was satisfied that a situation had arisen in which the government of the province cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the said Act, he could assume to himself all or any of the powers of the government and discharge those functions in his discretion.
  • In practice president’s rule has been imposed under different circumstances such as these:
  1. State Legislature is unable to elect a leader as Chief Minister
  2. Breakdown of a coalition
  3. Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons
  • Most often, until the mid-1990s, it was imposed in states through abuse of the authority of Governors in collusion with the federal government. The Article has almost always been used to dismiss state governments where the party in power is not the same as that ruling at the Centre.
  • However, following a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India in March 1994 in the S. R. Bommai vs. Union Of India, such abuse has been reduced drastically.
  • In this case, the SC established strict guidelines for imposing President’s rule. Subsequent pronouncements by the Supreme Court in Jharkhand and other states have further whetted down the scope for misuse of Article 356. Hence since the early 2000, the number of cases of imposition of President’s rule has come down drastically.
  • The Sarkaria CommissionReport on Centre–State Relations 1988 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”

JK & President Rule

  1. In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, failure of constitutional machinery results inGovernor’s rule, imposed by invoking Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. The proclamation is issued by the state’s Governor after obtaining the consent of the President of India.
  3. If it is not possible to revoke Governor’s rule before within six months of imposition, President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution is imposed.
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