President's rule

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President's rule refers to Article 356 of the Constitution of India deals with the failure of the constitutional machinery of an Indian state. In the event that government in a state is not able to function as per the Constitution, the state comes under the direct control of the central government, with executive authority exercised through the Governor instead of a Council of Ministers headed by an elected Chief Minister accountable to the state legislature. Article 356 is invoked if there has been failure of the constitutional machinery in any state of India. During President's rule, the Governor has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators, to assist him.

Following its landmark judgement in the 1994 Bommai case, the Supreme Court of India has clamped down on arbitrary impositions of President's rule by central governments. Currently, Delhi is under President's rule since February–March 2014.

Imposition of President's rule[edit]

In practice president's rule has been imposed under different circumstances such as these:

  • State Legislature is unable to elect a leader as Chief Minister
  • Breakdown of a coalition
  • 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. However, following a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India in March 1994, such abuse has been reduced drastically.

Criticism[edit]

Article 356 gave wide powers to the central government to assert its authority over a state if civil unrest occurred and the state government did not have the means to end the unrest. This is one of the articles that gave the Indian constitution some amount of unitary character. Though the purpose of this article is to give more powers to central government to preserve the unity and integrity of the nation, it has often been misused[citation needed][1] by the ruling parties at the center. It has been used as a pretext to dissolve state governments ruled by political opponents.[citation needed][2] Thus, it is seen by many as a threat to the federal state system. Since the adoption of Indian constitution in 1950, the central government has used this article several times[3] to dissolve elected state governments and impose President's rule.

The article was used for the first time in up 1957. It has also been used in the state of Patiala and East Punjab States union (PEPSU) and then during Vimochana samaram to dismiss the democratically elected Communist state government of Kerala on 31 July 1959. In the 1970s and 1980s it almost became common practice for the central government to dismiss state governments led by opposition parties.[citation needed] The Indira Gandhi regime and post-emergency Janata Party were noted for this practice. Indira Gandhi's government between 1966 and 1977 is known to have imposed President' rule in 39 times in different states. Similarly Janta Party which came to power after the emergency had issued President's rule in 9 states which were ruled by Congress.

It is only after the landmark judgement in 1994 in the S. R. Bommai v. Union of India case that the misuse of Article 356 was curtailed. In this case, the Supreme Court established strict guidelines for imposing President's rule. Subsequent pronouncements by the Supreme Court in Jharkand 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.

Article 356 has always been the focal point of a wider debate of the federal structure of government in Indian polity. The Sarkaria Commission on central-state relations 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".[citation needed]

Instances of President's rule[edit]

State Date from Date to Notes
Andhra State 15 November 1954 29 March 1955 Loss of Majority.
Andhra Pradesh 18 January 1973 10 December 1973 Break down of Law & Order due to Jai Andhra Agitation, in P. V. Narasimha Rao's tenure.
Andhra Pradesh 28 February 2014 08 June 2014 Political Deadlock following the resignation of Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and several others, both from the Government and the Party after the Indian Parliament passed Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill meant to carve out a separate Telangana State.[4]
Arunachal Pradesh 3 November 1979 18 January 1980 Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment during Janata party rule at the Centre.
Assam 12 December 1979 5 December 1980 'Assam Agitation' against illegal foreign national staying in Assam started to take roots under the leadership of the All Assam Students’Union (AASU). The violence fuelled by United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) resulted in break down of law and order.
Assam 30 June 1981 13 January 1982 Congress (I) government led by Anwara Taimur representing immigrant minorities collapsed following intensification of 'Assam Agitation' against illegal foreign national staying in Assam.
Assam 19 March 1982 27 February 1983 Congress (I) government led by Kesab Gogoi representing ethnic Asom people collapsed following continued violence in Assam.
Assam 28 November 1990 30 June 1991 Govt. dismissed in spite of AGP CM Mr. Prafulla Mahanta enjoying majority support in Assembly. The dismissal was triggered apparently by the threat to internal security due to banned organisation ULFA's activities. During President's rule, Operation Bajrang was launched to flush out ULFA militants.
Bihar 29 June 1968 26 February 1969 Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment.
Bihar 4 July 1969 16 February 1970 Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment due to split in ruling Congress party
Bihar 9 January 1972 19 March 1972 Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment.
Bihar 30 April 1977 24 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Dr. Jagannath Mishra enjoying majority support in Assembly
Bihar 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Mr. Ram Sundar Das enjoying majority support in Assembly
Bihar 28 March 1995 5 April 1995 President’s rule imposed for a brief period of one week to facilitate passage of vote on account (to permit day-to-day government expenses in Bihar) by Parliament while awaiting the results of Assembly elections held during the Chief Ministership of Mr Laloo Prasad.
Bihar 12 February 1999 9 March 1999 Breakdown of law and order, killings of 11 Dalits at Narayanpur. The Vajpayee Government, revoked President’s rule within 26 days since the coalition did not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
Bihar 7 March 2005 24 November 2005 Indecisive outcome of elections.
Delhi 14 February 2014 Ongoing Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Chief Minister after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly.
Delhi 1956 1993 Delhi ceased to exist as a state, became a Union Territory.
Goa 2 December 1966 5 April 1967 The Union Territory of Goa's Assembly was dissolved to conduct an opinion poll to determine whether Goa should be merged with Maharashtra.
Goa 27 April 1979 16 January 1980 Loss of majority following split in the ruling MGP Party
Goa 14 December 1990 25 January 1991 C.M. resigned consequent upon his disqualification by High Court - No other Government found viable
Goa 9 February 1999 9 June 1999 Loss of majority and no alternate claimant to form next government
Goa 4 March 2005 7 June 2005 Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Pratap Sinh Rane
Gujarat 12 May 1971 17 March 1972 Loss of Majority following vertical split in Congress during 1969 presidential election
Gujarat 9 February 1974 18 June 1975 Chimanbhai Patel led Congress government resigned due to Navnirman Movement Anti-Corruption protests. The protesters forced MLA's resignations, forcing dissolution of assembly.
Gujarat 12 March 1976 24 December 1976 "Non-Passage" of budget leading to collapse of government
Gujarat 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Babubhai J Patel enjoying majority support in the Assembly
Gujarat 19 September 1996 23 October 1996 Government dismissed following a controversial confidence vote. The Assembly was placed in suspended animation, which led to subsequent installation of Vaghela government, supported by Congress
Haryana 2 November 1967 22 May 1968 Government dismissed in spite of having a tenuous majority.
Haryana 30 April 1977 21 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of B D Gupta enjoying majority support in Assembly
Haryana 6 April 1991 23 July 1991 Rebellion in the ruling party
Himachal Pradesh 30 April 1977 22 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Thakur Ram Lal enjoying majority support in Assembly
Himachal Pradesh 15 December 1992 3 December 1993 Government dismissed in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan in Uttar Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir 26 March 1977 9 July 1977 Sheikh Abdullah led National Conference government bowed out after being reduced to a minority following withdrawal of support by the Congress Party
Jammu and Kashmir 6 March 1986 7 November 1986 Loss of majority
Jammu and Kashmir 19 January 1990 9 October 1996 Insurgency and break down of law and order.
Jammu and Kashmir 18 October 2002 2 November 2002 Indecisive outcome of elections.
Jammu and Kashmir 11 July 2008 5 January 2009 Loss of majority following collapse of coalition. CM Gulam Nabi Azad's decision to transfer land for Amarnath pilgrimage led to PDP pulling out of coalation Govt.
Jharkhand 19 January 2009 29 December 2009 Loss of Majority
Jharkhand 1 June 2010 11 September 2010 Loss of Majority
Jharkhand 18 January 2013 12 July 2013 Loss of Majority. BJP's ruling coalition partner JMM withdrew its support to the government pushing it into a minority. Chief Minister Arjun Munda resigned and sought dissolution of the state Assembly.[5]
Karnataka 19 March 1971 20 March 1972 Loss of Majority
Karnataka 31 December 1977 28 February 1978 Government dismissed in spite of Congress CM Devraj Urs enjoying majority support in Assembly
Karnataka 21 April 1989 30 November 1989 Loss of majority of CM S. R. Bommai, followed by dissolution of Assembly. On an appeal by Mr. S. R. Bommai, in a landmark judgement delivered in 1994, the Indian Supreme Court laid out the procedure to be followed before dissolving an elected assembly. The historic ruling in this case reduced the scope for misuse of Article 356 by future central governments and governors.
Karnataka 10 October 1990 17 October 1990 Government of Veerendra Patil dismissed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and state was placed under President's rule with the assembly placed in suspended animation until next chief Minister was elected
Karnataka 9 October 2007 11 November 2007 Loss of majority
Karnataka 20 November 2007 27 May 2008 Loss of majority
Kerala (Travancore-Cochin) 23 March 1956 5 April 1957 Loss of majority following split in Congress Party
Kerala 31 July 1959 22 February 1960 Government dismissed in spite of Communist CM EMS Namboodiripad enjoying majority support in Assembly
Kerala 10 September 1964 6 March 1967 Loss of majority followed by indecisive outcome of elections
Kerala 1 August 1970 4 October 1970 Loss of majority
Kerala 1 December 1979 25 January 1980 Loss of majority
Madhya Pradesh 29 April 1977 25 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Shyama Charan Shukla enjoying majority support in Assembly
Madhya Pradesh 18 February 1980 8 June 1980 Govt. dismissed in spite of Mr. Sundar Lal Patwa enjoying majority support in Assembly
Madhya Pradesh 15 December 1992 7 December 1993 Govt. dismissed in the aftermath of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan destruction in Uttar Pradesh.
Maharashtra 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 Govt. dismissed in spite of Mr. Sharad Pawar enjoying majority support in the Assembly
Manipur 12 January 1967 19 March 1967 First Elections to Manipur Union Territory Assembly held.
Manipur 25 October 1967 18 February 1968 Short lived ministry collapsed following resignation of speaker, resulting in neither ruling nor opposition congress having a clear majority in the assembly. Assembly kept in suspended animation.
Manipur 17 October 1969 22 March 1972 Violent secessionist insurgency and statehood demands resulted in breakdown of law and order
Manipur 28 March 1973 3 March 1974 President's rule was imposed even though the opposition had a "tenuous" majority and could have formed a government
Manipur 16 May 1977 28 June 1977 Collapse of Government following defections
Manipur 14 November 1979 13 January 1980 Discontent within Janata Party Government and corruption charges led to dismissal of government and dissolution of Assembly.
Manipur 28 February 1981 18 June 1981 Incumbent Government fell following defections. Governor did not permit an alternate government to be formed by People's Democratic Front on the basis of his assessment regarding stability of the proposed ministry.
Manipur 7 January 1992 7 April 1992 Incumbent coalition Government fell following defections. President's rule imposed keeping assembly in suspension.
Manipur 31 December 1993 13 December 1994 1000 persons died in Naga-Kuki clashes and continued violence
Manipur 2 June 2001 6 March 2002 Loss of majority
Meghalaya 11 October 1991 5 February 1992 The Centre imposed President's rule in Meghalaya in the wake of a political crisis after the then Speaker PR Kyndiah suspended five MLAs, mostly independents, on grounds of defection. See more at: http://www.merinews.com/article/meghalaya-clamped-under-presidents-rule/15752671.shtml#sthash.lD2Rcimi.dpuf
Meghalaya 18 March 2009 12 May 2009 Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Donkupar Roy
Mizoram 11 May 1977 1 June 1978 Mizo Union Ministry led by Chief Minister Chhunga resigned in May 1977, ostensibly to facilitate the progress of peace talks. see Lost Opportunities: 50 Years of Insurgency in the North-east and India's Response, By S. P. Sinha, Page 95
Mizoram 10 November 1978 8 May 1979 Chief Minister Sailo's refusal to grant undue favours caused dissension in his party which led to the fall of his government and imposition of President's rule. see Lost Opportunities: 50 Years of Insurgency in the North-east and India's Response, By S. P. Sinha, Page 96-97
Mizoram 7 September 1988 24 January 1989 Defections reduced the Government to minority
Nagaland 20 March 1975 25 November 1977 Defections and counter defections led to imposition of President's rule
Nagaland 7 August 1988 25 January 1989 The state was under a brief spell of central rule again after the Hokishe Sema-led Congress government was reduced to a minority. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court in held to be invalid in 1994.
Nagaland 2 April 1992 22 February 1993 Fluid party position and deteriorating law and order situation
Nagaland 3 January 2008 12 March 2008 Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Neiphiu Rio
Odisha 25 February 1961 23 June 1961 Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab led Congress-Gantantra Parishad Minority Government resigned on the 21st February, 1961 due to differences in the Congress Party. President’s Rule was imposed on 25 February 1961.
Odisha 11 January 1971 3 April 1971 Break-up of coalition
Odisha 3 March 1973 6 March 1974 Facing imminent collapse of government, incumbent chief minister recommended dissolution of assembly and fresh elections.
Odisha 16 December 1976 29 December 1976 Chief Minister Nandini Sathpathy was forced out and assembly placed under suspended animation. A new Congress government was sworn in after revocation of President's rule.
Odisha 30 April 1977 26 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Binayak Acharya enjoying majority support in Assembly
Odisha 17 February 1980 9 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Nilamani Routray enjoying majority support in Assembly
PEPSU 5 March 1953 8 March 1954 President's rule was invoked in the erstwhile PEPSU (Patiala and East Punjab States Union ) State when the Akali Dal government, led by Gian Singh Rarewala, was dismissed
Puducherry 18 September 1968 17 March 1969 Assembly was dissolved and President's rule imposed as opposition parties had a chance to form a government after the fall of the Congress government.
Puducherry 3 January 1974 6 March 1974 Assembly dissolved after fall of DMK government following decision of two ministers to join newly formed ADMK.
Puducherry 28 March 1974 2 July 1977 Fall of coalition government of ADMK, Congress(O)following division of votes by Congress(R) and DMK. The Assembly was dissolved.
Puducherry 12 November 1978 16 January 1980
Puducherry 24 June 1983 16 March 1985 Government dismissed following withdrawal of Congress(I) from coalition government. In spite of incumbent chief minister asking for an opportunity to prove his majority on the floor of the house, the assembly was dissolved.
Puducherry 4 March 1991 3 July 1991 DMK Government dismissed in spite of having a majority in the Assembly
Punjab 20 June 1951 17 April 1952 Pandit Nehru kept the Punjab Assembly in suspension for nine months and 28 days to help the state Congress government get its act together.
Punjab 5 July 1966 1 November 1966 State administration was taken over, ostensibly to facilitate bifurcation of Punjab state into two, Punjab and Haryana
Punjab 23 August 1968 17 February 1969 Break-up of coalition
Punjab 14 June 1971 17 March 1972 Following poor performance in March, 1971 Lok Sabha Elections, incumbent Chief Minister advised dissolving state assembly and holding fresh elections to state legislature.
Punjab 30 April 1977 20 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Giani Zail Singh enjoying majority support in Assembly
Punjab 17 February 1980 6 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Parkash Singh Badal enjoying majority support in Assembly
Punjab 10 October 1983 29 September 1985 Insurgency and breakdown of law and order
Punjab 11 June 1987 25 February 1992 Insurgency and breakdown of law and order
Rajasthan 13 March 1967 26 April 1967 Indecisive outcome of elections
Rajasthan 29 April 1977 22 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Hari Dev Joshi enjoying majority support in Assembly
Rajasthan 16 February 1980 6 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat enjoying majority support in Assembly
Rajasthan 15 December 1992 4 December 1993 Government dismissed in spite of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat enjoying majority support in Assembly
Sikkim 18 August 1978 18 October 1979 Loss of majority following split in Mr. Kazi Lhendup Dorji led Janata Party government. The central government imposed president's rule and followed up with electoral reforms before ordering fresh elections.
Sikkim 25 May 1984 8 March 1985 Congress Government formed following induced collapse of Mr. Nar Bahadur Bandari Sikkim Janata Parishad Government was dismissed as it did not enjoy a majority in the Assembly.
Tamil Nadu 31 January 1976 30 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of Karunanidhi enjoying majority support in Assembly
Tamil Nadu 17 February 1980 6 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of M G Ramachandran enjoying majority support in Assembly
Tamil Nadu 30 January 1988 27 January 1989 Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Janaki Ramachandran
Tamil Nadu 30 January 1991 24 June 1991 Government headed by Mr. M. Karunanidhi dismissed by Prime Minister Chandrashekhar on charges of supporting anti-national activities, in spite of the then Governor Barnala's report and enjoying majority support in the Assembly.
Tripura 1 November 1971 20 March 1972 In the backdrop of refugee influx due to Bangladesh Liberation War, split in the Congress and Communist agitation for Tripura to become a full fledged state, President's rule was imposed. On 1 January 1972 Tripura became a State and assembly elections held subsequently.
Tripura 5 November 1977 5 January 1978 Collapse of short lived government in a fluid political environment
Tripura 11 March 1993 10 April 1993 Elections postponed from 15 February 1993 to 3 April 1993 on account of deteriorating law and order situation. Caretaker CM resigns.
Uttar Pradesh 25 February 1968 26 February 1969 Loss of majority following withdrawal of support by Corgress (R) led by Ms. Indira Gandhi.
Uttar Pradesh 1 October 1970 18 October 1970 Charan Singh Ministry supported by Congress collapsed following split in Congress party.
Uttar Pradesh 12 June 1973 8 November 1973 Chief Minister resigned as a result of the 1973 Provincial Armed Constabulary revolt.
Uttar Pradesh 30 November 1975 21 January 1976 Congress Government of H N Bahuguna tendered resignation due to infighting within the party.
Uttar Pradesh 30 April 1977 23 June 1977 Government dismissed in spite of N D Tiwari enjoying majority support in Assembly
Uttar Pradesh 17 February 1980 9 June 1980 Government dismissed in spite of Banarasi Das enjoying majority support in Assembly
Uttar Pradesh 6 December 1992 4 December 1993 Government dismissed in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan
Uttar Pradesh 18 October 1995 21 March 1997 Loss of Majority following collapse of coalition
Uttar Pradesh 8 March 2002 2 May 2002 Indecisive outcome of elections.
Vindhya Pradesh 8 April 1949 13 March 1952 President's rule was imposed in the erstwhile Vindya Pradesh State when Chief Minister resigned. President's rule was revoked following independent India's first general elections.
West Bengal 1 July 1962 8 July 1962 Interim Period between death of incumbent Chief Minister and election of new leader.
West Bengal 20 February 1968 25 February 1969 State placed under President's rule following collapse of two successive short lived coalition governments.
West Bengal 19 March 1970 2 April 1971 Collapse of United Front Coalition between Bangla Congress and CPI(M)
West Bengal 28 June 1971 19 March 1972 Collapse of United Front Coalition between Bangla Congress and CPI(M)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Perceptions’ on ‘misuse of article 356". 
  2. ^ "Limitations of Article 356". The Hindu. 
  3. ^ Ahmadi J., S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, (1994) 3 SCC 1, 296–297, ¶ 434 cited in http://www.ejcl.org/81/art81-4.html
  4. ^ "President’s Rule imposed in Andhra Pradesh under Article 356 of Constitution". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  5. ^ PTI (18 January 2013). "Jharkhand put under President's rule again". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 

External links[edit]