President's rule

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In the Republic of India, the phrase "President's rule" refers to the imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution of India on a State whose constitutional machinery has failed. In the event that a State government is not able to function as per the Constitution, the State comes under the direct control of the central government; in other words, it is "under President's rule". Subsequently, executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor, who has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators, to assist him.

On the other hand, when the State government is functioning normally, it is run by an elected Council of Ministers, who are collectively responsible to State's legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha). The Council is headed by the Chief Minister who is the de facto chief executive of the State; the Governor is only a de jure constitutional head. However, during President's rule, the Council of Ministers stands dissolved, the office of Chief Minister becomes vacant and the Vidhan Sabha is either put in suspended animation or dissolved (necessitating a fresh election).

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, failure of constitutional machinery results in Governor's rule, imposed by invoking Section 92 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. The proclamation is issued by the state's Governor after obtaining the consent of the President of India. 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. There is little practical difference between the two provisions.

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.

Imposition[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[1] by the ruling parties at the center. It has been used as a pretext to dissolve state governments ruled by political opponents.[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 1954. 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.[4] 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 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.

Article 356 has always been the focal point of a wider debate of the federal structure of government in Indian polity. The Sarkaria Commission Report 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".[5]

List of instances[edit]

State Date of imposition Date of revocation Duration Notes
Andhra State [1] 15 November 1954 29 March 1955 134 days Loss of Majority.
Andhra Pradesh [1] 18 January 1973 10 December 1973 326 days Break down of Law & Order due to Jai Andhra Agitation, in P. V. Narasimha Rao's tenure.
Andhra Pradesh [2] 28 February 2014 8 June 2014 100 days Political impasse following the resignation of Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and several other congress party legislators from the Government as well as the Party, in protest against Indian Parliament passing Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill to bifurcate united Andhra Pradesh and create a separate Telangana State.[6] President's rule revoked from Telangana areas on 2 June 2014 and bifurcated Andhra Pradesh areas on 8 June 2014.[7]
Arunachal Pradesh [1] 3 November 1979 18 January 1980 76 days Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment during Janata party rule at the Centre.
Arunachal Pradesh [2] 25 January 2016 Ongoing Ongoing 21 Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 of the BJP and two Independents, making the current government a minority government.[8]
Assam [1] 12 December 1979 5 December 1980 359 days '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 [2] 30 June 1981 13 January 1982 197 days Congress (I) government led by Anwara Taimur representing immigrant minorities collapsed following intensification of 'Assam Agitation' against illegal foreign national staying in Assam.
Assam [3] 19 March 1982 27 February 1983 345 days Congress (I) government led by Kesab Gogoi representing ethnic Asom people collapsed following continued violence in Assam.
Assam [4] 28 November 1990 30 June 1991 214 days 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 [1] 29 June 1968 26 February 1969 242 days Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment.
Bihar [2] 4 July 1969 16 February 1970 227 days Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment due to split in ruling Congress party
Bihar [3] 9 January 1972 19 March 1972 70 days Loss of Majority following defections in a fluid political environment.
Bihar [4] 30 April 1977 24 June 1977 55 days Government dismissed in spite of Dr. Jagannath Mishra enjoying majority support in Assembly
Bihar [5] 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 112 days Government dismissed in spite of Mr. Ram Sundar Das enjoying majority support in Assembly
Bihar [6] 28 March 1995 5 April 1995 8 days 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 [7] 12 February 1999 9 March 1999 25 days 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 [8] 7 March 2005 24 November 2005 262 days Indecisive outcome of elections.
Delhi [1] 14 February 2014 11 February 2015 362 days Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Chief Minister after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly.
Goa [1] 2 December 1966 5 April 1967 124 days The Union Territory of Goa's Assembly was dissolved to conduct an opinion poll to determine whether Goa should be merged with Maharashtra.
Goa [2] 27 April 1979 16 January 1980 264 days Loss of majority following split in the ruling MGP Party
Goa [3] 14 December 1990 25 January 1991 42 days C.M. resigned consequent upon his disqualification by High Court - No other Government found viable
Goa [4] 9 February 1999 9 June 1999 120 days Loss of majority and no alternate claimant to form next government
Goa [5] 4 March 2005 7 June 2005 95 days Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Pratap Sinh Rane
Gujarat [1] 12 May 1971 17 March 1972 310 days Loss of Majority following vertical split in Congress during 1969 presidential election
Gujarat [2] 9 February 1974 18 June 1975 1 year,  129 days Chimanbhai Patel led Congress government resigned due to Navnirman Movement Anti-Corruption protests. The protesters forced MLA's resignations, forcing dissolution of assembly.
Gujarat [3] 12 March 1976 24 December 1976 287 days "Non-Passage" of budget leading to collapse of government
Gujarat [4] 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 112 days Government dismissed in spite of Babubhai J Patel enjoying majority support in the Assembly
Gujarat [5] 19 September 1996 23 October 1996 34 days 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 [1] 2 November 1967 22 May 1968 202 days Government dismissed in spite of having a tenuous majority.
Haryana [2] 30 April 1977 21 June 1977 52 days Government dismissed in spite of B D Gupta enjoying majority support in Assembly
Haryana [3] 6 April 1991 23 July 1991 108 days Rebellion in the ruling party
Himachal Pradesh [1] 30 April 1977 22 June 1977 53 days Government dismissed in spite of Thakur Ram Lal enjoying majority support in Assembly
Himachal Pradesh [2] 15 December 1992 3 December 1993 353 days Government dismissed in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan in Uttar Pradesh.
Jammu and Kashmir [1] 26 March 1977 9 July 1977 105 days 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 [2] 6 March 1986 7 November 1986 246 days Loss of majority
Jammu and Kashmir [3] 19 January 1990 9 October 1996 6 years, 264 days Insurgency and break down of law and order.
Jammu and Kashmir [4] 18 October 2002 2 November 2002 15 days Indecisive outcome of elections.
Jammu and Kashmir [5] 11 July 2008 5 January 2009 178 days 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.
Jammu and Kashmir [6] 9 January 2015 1 March 2015 51 days Failure of Government formation after fractured verdict in Assembly elections. BJP & PDP reached an understanding to form an alliance to form Government in J&K.[9]
Jammu and Kashmir [7] 8 January 2016 ongoing ongoing Death of Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed
Jharkhand [1] 19 January 2009 29 December 2009 344 days Loss of Majority
Jharkhand [2] 1 June 2010 11 September 2010 102 days Loss of Majority
Jharkhand [3] 18 January 2013 12 July 2013 175 days 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.[10]
Mysore [1] 19 March 1971 20 March 1972 1 year,    1 day  Loss of Majority
Karnataka [2] 31 December 1977 28 February 1978 59 days Government dismissed in spite of Congress CM Devraj Urs enjoying majority support in Assembly
Karnataka [3] 21 April 1989 30 November 1989 223 days 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 [4] 10 October 1990 17 October 1990 7 days 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 [5] 9 October 2007 11 November 2007 33 days Loss of majority
Karnataka [6] 20 November 2007 27 May 2008 189 days Loss of majority
Kerala [1] 31 July 1959 22 February 1960 206 days Government dismissed in spite of Communist CM EMS Namboodiripad enjoying majority support in Assembly
Kerala [2] 10 September 1964 6 March 1967 2 years, 177 days Loss of majority followed by indecisive outcome of elections
Kerala [3] 1 August 1970 4 October 1970 64 days Loss of majority
Kerala [4] 1 December 1979 25 January 1980 55 days Loss of majority
Madhya Pradesh [1] 29 April 1977 25 June 1977 57 days Government dismissed in spite of Shyama Charan Shukla enjoying majority support in Assembly
Madhya Pradesh [2] 18 February 1980 8 June 1980 111 days Govt. dismissed in spite of Mr. Sundar Lal Patwa enjoying majority support in Assembly
Madhya Pradesh [3] 15 December 1992 7 December 1993 357 days Govt. dismissed in the aftermath of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan destruction in Uttar Pradesh.
Maharashtra [1] 17 February 1980 8 June 1980 112 days Govt. dismissed in spite of Mr. Sharad Pawar enjoying majority support in the Assembly
Maharashtra [2] 28 September 2014 31 October 2014 33 days Govt. dismissed since Congress Separated from its allies NCP and Others.
Manipur [1] 12 January 1967 19 March 1967 66 days First Elections to Manipur Union Territory Assembly held.
Manipur [2] 25 October 1967 18 February 1968 116 days 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 [3] 17 October 1969 22 March 1972 2 years, 157 days Violent secessionist insurgency and statehood demands resulted in breakdown of law and order
Manipur [4] 28 March 1973 3 March 1974 340 days President's rule was imposed even though the opposition had a "tenuous" majority and could have formed a government
Manipur [5] 16 May 1977 28 June 1977 43 days Collapse of Government following defections
Manipur [6] 14 November 1979 13 January 1980 60 days Discontent within Janata Party Government and corruption charges led to dismissal of government and dissolution of Assembly.
Manipur [7] 28 February 1981 18 June 1981 110 days 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 [8] 7 January 1992 7 April 1992 91 days Incumbent coalition Government fell following defections. President's rule imposed keeping assembly in suspension.
Manipur [9] 31 December 1993 13 December 1994 347 days 1000 persons died in Naga-Kuki clashes and continued violence
Manipur [10] 2 June 2001 6 March 2002 277 days Loss of majority
Meghalaya [1] 11 October 1991 5 February 1992 117 days 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.[11]
Meghalaya [2] 18 March 2009 12 May 2009 55 days Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Donkupar Roy
Mizoram [1] 11 May 1977 1 June 1978 1 year,   21 days 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 [2] 10 November 1978 8 May 1979 179 days 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 [3] 7 September 1988 24 January 1989 139 days Defections reduced the Government to minority
Nagaland [1] 20 March 1975 25 November 1977 2 years, 250 days Defections and counter defections led to imposition of President's rule
Nagaland [2] 7 August 1988 25 January 1989 171 days 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 [3] 2 April 1992 22 February 1993 326 days Fluid party position and deteriorating law and order situation
Nagaland [4] 3 January 2008 12 March 2008 69 days Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Neiphiu Rio
Orissa [1] 25 February 1961 23 June 1961 118 days Dr. Harekrushna Mahtab led Congress-Gantantra Parishad Minority Government resigned on 21 February 1961 due to differences in the Congress Party. President’s Rule was imposed on 25 February 1961.
Orissa [2] 11 January 1971 3 April 1971 82 days Break-up of coalition
Orissa [3] 3 March 1973 6 March 1974 1 year,    3 days Facing imminent collapse of government, incumbent chief minister recommended dissolution of assembly and fresh elections.
Orissa [4] 16 December 1976 29 December 1976 13 days 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.
Orissa [5] 30 April 1977 26 June 1977 57 days Government dismissed in spite of Binayak Acharya enjoying majority support in Assembly
Orissa [6] 17 February 1980 9 June 1980 113 days Government dismissed in spite of Nilamani Routray enjoying majority support in Assembly
Patiala and East Punjab States Union [1] 5 March 1953 8 March 1954 1 year,    3 days 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
Pondicherry [1] 18 September 1968 17 March 1969 180 days 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.
Pondicherry [2] 3 January 1974 6 March 1974 62 days Assembly dissolved after fall of DMK government following decision of two ministers to join newly formed ADMK.
Pondicherry [3] 28 March 1974 2 July 1977 3 years,  96 days Fall of coalition government of ADMK, Congress(O)following division of votes by Congress(R) and DMK. The Assembly was dissolved.
Pondicherry [4] 12 November 1978 16 January 1980 1 year,   65 days Fall of government due to political instability
Pondicherry [5] 24 June 1983 16 March 1985 1 year,  265 days 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.
Pondicherry [6] 4 March 1991 3 July 1991 121 days DMK Government dismissed in spite of having a majority in the Assembly
Punjab [1] 20 June 1951 17 April 1952 302 days 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 [2] 5 July 1966 1 November 1966 119 days State administration was taken over, ostensibly to facilitate bifurcation of Punjab state into two, Punjab and Haryana
Punjab [3] 23 August 1968 17 February 1969 178 days Break-up of coalition
Punjab [4] 14 June 1971 17 March 1972 277 days Following poor performance in March, 1971 Lok Sabha Elections, incumbent Chief Minister advised dissolving state assembly and holding fresh elections to state legislature.
Punjab [5] 30 April 1977 20 June 1977 51 days Government dismissed in spite of Giani Zail Singh enjoying majority support in Assembly
Punjab [6] 17 February 1980 6 June 1980 110 days Government dismissed in spite of Parkash Singh Badal enjoying majority support in Assembly
Punjab [7] 10 October 1983 29 September 1985 1 year,  354 days Insurgency and breakdown of law and order
Punjab [8] 11 June 1987 25 February 1992 4 years, 259 days Insurgency and breakdown of law and order
Rajasthan [1] 13 March 1967 26 April 1967 44 days Indecisive outcome of elections
Rajasthan [2] 29 April 1977 22 June 1977 54 days Government dismissed in spite of Hari Dev Joshi enjoying majority support in Assembly
Rajasthan [3] 16 February 1980 6 June 1980 111 days Government dismissed in spite of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat enjoying majority support in Assembly
Rajasthan [4] 15 December 1992 4 December 1993 354 days Government dismissed in spite of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat enjoying majority support in Assembly
Sikkim [1] 18 August 1978 18 October 1979 1 year,   61 days 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 [2] 25 May 1984 8 March 1985 287 days 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 [1] 31 January 1976 30 June 1977 1 year,  150 days Government dismissed in spite of Karunanidhi enjoying majority support in Assembly
Tamil Nadu [2] 17 February 1980 6 June 1980 110 days Government dismissed in spite of M G Ramachandran enjoying majority support in Assembly
Tamil Nadu [3] 30 January 1988 27 January 1989 362 days Government dismissed after controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by CM Janaki Ramachandran
Tamil Nadu [4] 30 January 1991 24 June 1991 145 days 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.
Travancore-Cochin [1] 23 March 1956 5 April 1957 1 year,   13 days Loss of majority following split in Congress Party
Tripura [1] 1 November 1971 20 March 1972 140 days 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 [2] 5 November 1977 5 January 1978 61 days Collapse of short lived government in a fluid political environment
Tripura [3] 11 March 1993 10 April 1993 30 days Elections postponed from 15 February 1993 to 3 April 1993 on account of deteriorating law and order situation. Caretaker CM resigns.
Uttar Pradesh [1] 25 February 1968 26 February 1969 1 year,    1 day  Loss of majority following withdrawal of support by Corgress (R) led by Ms. Indira Gandhi.
Uttar Pradesh [2] 1 October 1970 18 October 1970 17 days Charan Singh Ministry supported by Congress collapsed following split in Congress party.
Uttar Pradesh [3] 13 June 1973 8 November 1973 148 days Chief Minister resigned as a result of the 1973 Provincial Armed Constabulary revolt.
Uttar Pradesh [4] 30 November 1975 21 January 1976 52 days Congress Government of H N Bahuguna tendered resignation due to infighting within the party.
Uttar Pradesh [5] 30 April 1977 23 June 1977 54 days Government dismissed in spite of N D Tiwari enjoying majority support in Assembly
Uttar Pradesh [6] 17 February 1980 9 June 1980 113 days Government dismissed in spite of Banarasi Das enjoying majority support in Assembly
Uttar Pradesh [7] 6 December 1992 4 December 1993 363 days Government dismissed in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmasthan
Uttar Pradesh [8] 18 October 1995 21 March 1997 1 year,  154 days Loss of Majority following collapse of coalition followed by indecisive outcome of fresh elections
Uttar Pradesh [9] 8 March 2002 3 May 2002 56 days Indecisive outcome of elections.
Vindhya Pradesh [1] 8 April 1949 13 March 1952 2 years, 340 days 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] 1 July 1962 8 July 1962 7 days Interim Period between death of incumbent Chief Minister and election of new leader.
West Bengal [2] 20 February 1968 25 February 1969 1 year,    5 days State placed under President's rule following collapse of two successive short lived coalition governments.
West Bengal [3] 19 March 1970 2 April 1971 1 year,   14 days Collapse of United Front Coalition between Bangla Congress and CPI(M)
West Bengal [4] 28 June 1971 19 March 1972 265 days Collapse of United Front Coalition between Bangla Congress and CPI(M)

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