Question: Critically examine the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution. Would you subscribe to the view that the power to impose a President’s rule in a State is the most misused provision of the Constitution? Give examples in support of your answer. [BJS 1987] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Critically examine… Read More »

Question: Critically examine the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution. Would you subscribe to the view that the power to impose a President’s rule in a State is the most misused provision of the Constitution? Give examples in support of your answer. [BJS 1987] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Critically examine the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution. Would you subscribe to the view that the power to impose a President’s rule in a State is...

Question: Critically examine the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution. Would you subscribe to the view that the power to impose a President’s rule in a State is the most misused provision of the Constitution? Give examples in support of your answer. [BJS 1987]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Critically examine the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution. Would you subscribe to the view that the power to impose a President’s rule in a State is the most misused provision of the Constitution? Give examples in support of your answer. [BJS 1987]

Answer

Article 356 of the constitution empowers the President to issue a proclamation imposing president’s rule on receipt of a report from the Governor or suo motu, if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government if the state cannot be on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. Such a situation is called ‘Failure of constitutional machinery.

Article 356 states, “if the president on governor’s report, or otherwise is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which government of a state can’t be carried on in accordance with the constitutional provisions, he may issue a proclamation to that effect [cl. (1)].”

It is to be noted that under Article. 356 the president acts on a report of the governor or on information received otherwise. This means that the president can act even without the governor’s report so there is the scope of misuse of power through the provision. There have been a number of instances as of now which suggest the same view that the president’s rule in a state is the most misused provision of the Constitution.

In its 2015 report, Sarkaria Committee noted that since independence, it has been used over 100 times. Some of the prominent examples include:

  • Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used Article 356 for 27 times to remove majority governments on the ground of political stability, absence of clear mandate or withdrawal of support, etc.
  • In 1977, the Janata government removed nine state Congress governments, when they formed the government for the first time.
  • Manipur witnessed the most frequent application of Article 356 due to the deeply fragmented internal politics of the state, as well as long periods of violence.
  1. R. Bommai v. UOI, [(1994) 3 SCC 1] case is one of the most considered cases when talking about the President’s Rule. On March 11, 1994, a nine-judge Constitution bench of SC issued the historic order, which in a way put an end to the arbitrary dismissal of State Governments under the Article 356 by spelling out restrictions. The verdict concluded that the power of the President to dismiss a State government is not absolute.

One of the important issues decided by the majority is that State legislative assembly cannot be dissolved merely upon the issue of the Presidential proclamation and before Parliamentary approval is accorded. The dissolution of the Legislative Assembly is not a matter of course. It should be resorted to only where it is found necessary for achieving the purposes of the Proclamation. Hence, this landmark case brought about a change that curbed blatant misuse of article 356 to an extent.

In Rameshwar Prasad v UOI, (2006) 2 SCC 1, the court held that the power under 356(1) is an emergency power, but it is not absolute power. Emergency means a situation that is not normal, a situation that calls for urgent remedial action. Article 356 confers a power to be exercised by the President in exceptional circumstances to discharge the obligation cast upon him by Article 355. It is a measure to protect and preserve the constitution. The power under Article 356 is conditional, the condition being the formation of satisfaction of the President and the Council of Ministers because the president acts on their aid and advice.

However, the court said that the satisfaction of the President is justiciable and proclamation made under Article 356 is open to judicial review, but to a very limited extent when the power is exercised mala fide or is based on wholly extraneous or irrelevant grounds can the power of judicial review be exercised.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-06-27T08:05:25+05:30
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