Home Constitution ARTICLE 356

ARTICLE 356

Introduction:

If the president 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 then the president can withdraw union, executive and legislative powers of the state which is called State Emergency.A dead letter of the Constitution said B. R. Ambedkar. But the reality now clearly contradicts Dr. Ambedkar’s statement. So let’s study President’s Rule and its open misuse by the ruling party.

Article 356:

The article 356 clearly states that:
If the President, on receipt of a report from the Governor of a 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 the Constitution4 then the president may proclaim emergency in the concerned state.

This is called as State Emergency. It is also called President’s Rule because as soon as the emergency is proclaimed in the state, it functions according to the President. The article 356 says that whenever a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction from the Centre, it will be lawful for the president to hold that a situation has arisen for the emergency.

Grounds of Imposition:
Article 356 carries the marginal heading Provisions in case of failure of Constitutional machinery in States.
And such failure can be of following types:

• If the president on receipt of a report from the Governor of a 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 the Constitution, then the President’s Rule can be imposed.
• If any state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction from the Centre, then the President’s Rule can be imposed.

In layman’s words, the president rule can be imposed on the breakdown of law and order, political instability, corruption and maladministration.

Proclamation of emergency is open misuse by Ruling party:

Since 1950, the President’s Rule has been forced for over multiple times in our nation. On average, twice a year.Further, on a few events, the President’s Rule has been forced arbitrarily for political or individual reasons. Hence, article 356 has gotten one of the most controversial and scrutinized arrangements of the Constitution.

According to the critics, the first use of Article 356 was itself a great misuse. Nehru, unhappy with Punjab C. M. Gopichand Bhargava in 1951, dismissed him even though, he enjoyed a majority in the assembly.Historian Granville Austin writes in this case:
the Congress has blended its interest with questionable national needs to take over a state government.

On paper, much like section 93, Article 356 is only to be used in the case of failure of Constitutional machinery. However, it is not surprising to know that it has been used most often to guard the interest of the ruling party.

The significant explanations for the abuse of President’s Rule in India is on the grounds that the Governor has no authoritative to counsel the Cabinet of Ministers while planning and sending the report to the president. Critics also include the case of 1977, when the Janata party was in power headed by Morarji Desai, he imposed President’s Rule in nine states where Congress was in power. The two-year term of Morarji Desai from 1977-79 saw the provision being imposed for sixteen times. Later, when Congress came into power in 1980, it did the same. And so, Article 356 has been repeatedly abused, before the judgement of Bommai case.

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