In this article, we will discuss President’s Rule and Bommai Case in a simple and easy way, and understand its various important aspects, So to understand well, definitely read this article till the end as well as read other articles related to it.

Take the medicine or else the doctor will come and put a needle, and the child starts taking his medicine according to time. President’s rule is like a doctor who comes and puts the needle in the end and then everything is fine.

President's Rule
President’s Rule
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emergency provisions of india

Emergency means an event that requires immediate action. Such a situation can come at any time and it can be personal as well as national, that is why emergency provisions have been provided in the Constitution of India. These provisions are mentioned in Article 352 to 360 in Part 18 of the Constitution.

Necessary conditions for imposition of emergency

Three such circumstances have been mentioned in Part 18 of the Constitution. On whose stay an emergency can be imposed. These three are described in separate paragraphs. such as –

1. Article 352 – Under this, emergency can be imposed during war, external aggression and armed rebellion. This type of emergency is called a national emergency.

2. Article 356 – Emergency can be imposed even when the constitutional machinery in the states fails. This type of emergency is called President’s rule . It is also called State Emergency and Constitutional Emergency . However, only the word ‘President’s Rule’ is mentioned in the Constitution.

3. Article 360 ​​- Emergency can be imposed even when the financial stability or credit of India is in danger. This type of emergency is called a financial emergency.

Financial emergency has not been imposed in the country till date, so very little information is available on its practical aspects.

National emergency  and President’s rule are very important, because we have an idea of ​​the practicality of both of them and the probability of its occurrence is also relatively high. The National Emergency has already been discussed in detail. In this article we will understand the President’s rule imposed under Article 356.

Like the National Emergency, President’s Rule is also not free from scars. National emergency has been imposed only 3 times but President’s rule has been imposed more than 100 times.

Many times, a party used to impose President’s rule in the state of an opposition party to take out its displeasure. Due to its use in similar personal interest or party interest, this too had become a controversial provision like the National Emergency. However, the Bommai case put an end to this problem to a large extent.

President’s Rule

Our country is a country with constitutional supremacy . In such a situation, the constitution should run properly and according to the constitution everything should run properly, it is the responsibility of the President .

The President also takes an oath to protect the Constitution. That’s why they also save when it is needed. President’s rule is also a way to maintain the same constitutional order.

It is mentioned in Article 355 and Article 356. Article 355 states that it is the duty of the central government that every state should act in accordance with the constitutional system.

If a state does not work according to the constitutional system or due to any reason the constitutional machinery in the state fails, then under Article 356 , the center can take that state under its control. That is, President’s Rule can be imposed.

Since it is imposed when the constitutional machinery fails, it is also called constitutional emergency . Similarly, due to its imposition in a state, it is also called a state emergency .

Why is President’s rule imposed?

As we have just read above, under Article 355 it is the duty of the Center to ensure that the State continues to function in accordance with the Constitutional provisions.

According to Article 356(1), the President shall, on receipt of a report by the Governor of that State or if the President himself is satisfied that the Government of that State is not being carried on in accordance with the Constitution. So in such a situation the President can impose President’s rule by proclamation.

The second basis for imposing President’s rule is found in Article 365. Which says that if a state fails to follow or give effect to the instructions given by the center, then President’s rule can be imposed in this situation also.

Q. How does the President come to know that the constitutional machinery of a state has failed or a state has failed to follow the directions laid down by the Centre?

In the states, the Governor is there for this, just as the President takes oath to protect the Constitution, the Governor also takes it, so when such a situation arises, he sends a report to the President, on that basis the President can impose President’s rule.

However, the President can also take a decision at his discretion if he feels that the constitutional position in a state is in danger.

What happens when President’s rule is imposed?

With the imposition of President’s rule under Article 356(1), the President gets the following extraordinary powers, which are described in Article 356(1) a, b, and c:

(a) he takes over all the affairs of the State Government, even the powers of the Governor and all other executive officers are vested in the President.

(b) The President may declare that the Parliament shall exercise the powers of the State Legislature. In other words, Parliament can make laws on the subjects of the state.

(c) he may take all such steps, which include suspending the constitutional provisions relating to any body or authority of the State. In other words, the President can issue whatever executive order he wants and can also suspend any constitutional provisions.

How is the administration of the state run?

In case of imposition of President’s rule in a state, the President dissolves or suspends the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister.

Then the Governor of the state runs the administration of the state with the help of the Secretary of State in the name of the President. However, the President may also appoint an advisor to advise the Governor.

Since the Parliament gets the power to make laws on the State List, therefore the State Bills and Budget are passed by the Parliament.

Some facts of President’s rule

Article 357 deals with the exercise of legislative powers under the proclamation made under article 356. Under this, when any State Legislature is so dissolved or suspended by reason of President’s rule;

(a) Parliament can give the power to make laws for the State Legislature to the President or any officer designated by him.

(b) in the case of Parliament or any delegation, the President, or any other authority, may make laws for the consideration of the powers and the discharge of duties upon the Center or its officers and authority.

(c) When the Lok Sabha is not in session, the President may authorize the use of the Consolidated Fund of the State, pending the assent of the Parliament.

When the Parliament is prorogued, the President can issue an ordinance for the state.

A law made by the President or Parliament or any other special authority shall remain in force even after the end of President’s rule in that State. But it can be reversed or changed by the state legislature.

It is to be noted here that the President does not have the powers of the High Court of that state. That is, despite the imposition of President’s rule, the position, powers and functions of the High Court remain the same as before, the President cannot make any changes in it.

Parliamentary approval and time period

The provisions related to parliamentary approval and time period are part of Article 356 itself. This is described in clauses 3, 4 and 5 of this article.

Actually this is a later process of imposing President’s rule. We have understood that on what basis the declaration can be made. Now let’s see what all has to be done after that.

Like a national emergency, President’s rule also requires approval from the Parliament. But there is only one difference, and it is something like this;

Within two months of the proclamation of President’s rule, it has to be approved by both the houses of Parliament.

If the President’s rule continues when the Lok Sabha is dissolved or there is a Lok Sabha but it is dissolved before its approval within two months. So in such a situation, when the Lok Sabha is constituted again, that announcement will remain for thirty days from its first meeting. But before that it should be approved by Rajya Sabha, because Rajya Sabha is never dissolved.

In this way, if it is approved by both the houses, then it can continue for six months.

It can be extended for a maximum period of 3 years but the approval of Parliament is required every six months.

Remember one thing here that 3 years can be extended but by the 44th Constitutional Amendment 1978, two restrictions have been imposed on it.

That is, President’s rule can run smoothly for one year, but if after one year it is to be extended again for six months, then it can be extended only in two situations.

The first condition is that if a national emergency has been declared in the whole of India or in the whole or any part of the State, and,

Secondly, the Election Commission should certify that difficulties exist for the election of the Legislative Assembly in the concerned State.

But what if it has to be extended for another six months but within that period the Lok Sabha is dissolved.

In such a situation, when the Lok Sabha is constituted again, that resolution will remain in force for 30 days from its first meeting.

If it is to be extended again, it will have to be approved again within the same period. But remember that before that it should have been approved by Rajya Sabha. Because Rajya Sabha is never dissolved.

Where a national emergency requires a special majority. Whereas President’s Rule can be passed by simple majority in the Parliament. [Read from here – Different types of majority ]

End of proclamation of President’s rule

It is very easy to end President’s rule. It does not require the approval of the Parliament. Just the President has to announce that now the President’s rule has ended. And it ends with the announcement.

President’s rule and use of Article 356

Dr. BR Ambedkar had said about Article 356 in the Constituent Assembly that it would remain like a dead letter. However, their hopes were dashed because President’s rule has been used so frequently and in such situations that it has gradually become controversial and a tool for personal or political gain.

It was first imposed in Punjab in 1951 and since then it has been imposed more than 100 times. In most of the cases it has been imposed for political selfishness and there is reason to say so. In fact, when the National Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi ended in 1977 and Morarji Desai ‘s government was formed, this government imposed President’s rule in 9 Congress-ruled states and that too without any concrete reason.

Similarly, when Congress came to power again in 1980, it also imposed President’s rule in non-Congress states and took its revenge.

Not only this, again in 1992, the Congress government imposed President’s rule in 3 BJP ruled states (Madhya Pradesh, Himachal and Rajasthan) on the ground that the state government is unable to comply with the restrictions imposed by the Center on religious organizations. Actually at that time the Ram temple controversy had started and the RSS was banned and the Center believed that these BJP ruled states have given support to the RSS in their state.

In such a situation, the question comes whether it could have been imposed arbitrarily like this, did the court not do anything on it?

That was not the case. However, through the 38th Constitutional Amendment 1975, Indira Gandhi did away with the provision of challenging in the court in case of President’s rule along with National Emergency.

But this provision was removed by the government of Morarji Desai by the 44th constitutional amendment of 1978. That is, the President’s rule judicial review could be done by the court. But this did not happen.

The work of imposing President’s rule in an arbitrary manner went on for almost 14 years. In 1994, in the Bommai case, the Supreme Court heard it and made President’s rule a bit accountable and rational.

Bommai vs Union of India 1994

Like the national emergency, President’s rule is also not stain free. There are many stains on it too, some were very absurd.

By the way, it has been controversial ever since President’s rule was imposed for the first time. But the limit was reached when in 1978 Morarji Desai’s government imposed President’s rule in nine Congress ruled states. In retaliation to this, in 1980, the Congress government imposed President’s rule in 9 non-Congress states. Even if it stayed that much, it was fine.

After the elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 1988, the Janata Party and the Lok Dal formed the Janata Dal and its leader was elected SR Bommai. He became the Chief Minister. In September 1988, the cabinet was expanded with 13 new members.

But a few days later, an MLA handed over 1 letter to Governor P Venkatsubaiah, along with 19 other MLAs also handed over a letter with his signature, in that letter the withdrawal of support was announced.

It is a matter of 19 April 1989 that the Governor wrote to the President that in view of the recent incident, since Chief Minister SR Bommai no longer has majority, therefore President’s rule should be imposed there.

However, a day after that i.e. on April 20 itself, 7 out of those 19 MLAs said that the letter given in my name is fake. We are all still in support of the government.

As soon as this happened, Chief Minister SR Bommai reached the Governor and he asked the Governor to give me a chance to prove his majority. And the same thing he also told the President that President’s rule should not be imposed here, but first I should be given a chance to prove my majority.

On the same day the Governor also again told the President through a letter that the Chief Minister had lost his confidence in the House. Therefore, President’s rule should be imposed here under Article 356 (1).

The Congress government was at the center, Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister at that time, and the President was Giani Zail Singh. He dismissed the government of Bommai and imposed President’s rule on 21 April 1989. And since the Congress had a majority government, it was also approved by both the houses of the Parliament.

Since President’s rule was imposed without giving a chance to prove majority. That is why SR Bommai went to the Karnataka High Court on 26 April 1989. But the Karnataka High Court rejected his writ petition. This happened only one case, apart from this, a lot happened in those few years.

On 7 August 1988 , the Government of Nagaland was also dismissed and President’s rule was imposed there.

When the opposition party there challenged this order in the Guwahati High Court, then on the order of the Central Government, the proceedings of the High Court there were stayed.

President’s rule was also imposed in Meghalaya on 11 April 1991 . Even then the Congress government was at the centre, with a coalition.  Chandrashekhar was the Prime Minister at that time.

But an even bigger ruckus happened when the Babri Masjid was demolished on 6 December 1992 . Since the involvement of RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal had come to the fore at that time, then these organizations were banned by the central government.

It happened easily in the Congress ruled states, but at that time there was BJP rule in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. And there was no ban on these three organizations. There they were doing their work happily. That is why on 15 December 1992 , the central government dismissed the governments of these three states and imposed President’s rule, and the reason was said that these states have disobeyed the restrictions imposed by the center on these organizations. (i.e. Article 365 used here)

Now when all these cases reached the Supreme Court, the court merged all these cases together and it was called the case of SR Bommai vs Government of India.

A lot of questions were placed on the table of the Supreme Court such as – To what extent President’s rule imposed by the President is justified? Does the President have unlimited power to impose President’s rule under Article 356? Can the President’s rule not be challenged in the Supreme Court after it is approved by the Parliament? and so on and so forth.

On March 11, 1994, a 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court declared its verdict invalidating the President’s rule imposed in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Karnataka. While the President’s rule imposed in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan was justified. (Why so?)

Because he considered secularism as the basic structure of the constitution and justified the President’s rule imposed on this basis.

Since it was alleged that Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan had expressed their involvement in religious matters regarding the Ram temple dispute, the Supreme Court upheld the President’s rule imposed in these states.

Some important facts of Bommai case

1. The President’s announcement of imposition of President’s rule is worthy of judicial review . Even if it has been approved by both the houses of Parliament.

2. If the act done during the President’s rule is found to be irrational or malicious, then the President’s work can be stayed by the court. And it will be the responsibility of the Center to present justifiable reasons to justify President’s rule.

3. Powers under Article 356 are specific powers. Their use is rarely needed in special circumstances.

4. If the court finds the Presidential proclamation unconstitutional and invalid, it has the power to restore the dissolved state government and to reinstate the suspended or dissolved assembly.

5. The State Legislature can be dissolved only if the President’s proclamation gets the assent of the Parliament. Unless such a declaration is assented to, the President can only suspend the Assembly. If Parliament is unable to approve it, the assembly is revived.

6. The question of the State Government losing the vote of confidence in the Legislative Assembly should be decided in the Parliament, until it is done so that the Council of Ministers will continue.

7. When a new political party comes to power at the center, it will not have the right to dismiss the government of other parties in the states. You must have understood why this decision would have been given.

Current status of President’s rule

After the Bommai case in 1994, it is now the situation that the President’s rule imposed in the following circumstances would be appropriate.

When no party gets a clear majority in the assembly after the general elections, that is, a hung assembly.

When the majority party refuses to form the government and there is no coalition before the governor with a clear majority in the assembly.

When the Council of Ministers resigns and no other party is willing to form the government or is not in a position to form the government in the absence of a clear majority.

If the state government refuses to obey any constitutional direction of the central government.

When the government thinks and acts against the constitution and law, and the result erupts in the form of a fierce rebellion.

Physical fragmentation, where the government voluntarily refuses to fulfill its constitutional obligations that endanger the security of the state.

It would be unfair to impose President’s rule in the following circumstances.

When the Council of Ministers resigns or is dismissed for lack of majority in the House and the Governor recommends imposition of President’s rule without examining the possibilities of an alternative government.

When the Governor himself decides on the support of the Council of Ministers and recommends the imposition of President’s rule without allowing the Council of Ministers to prove majority in the House.

When the party with a majority in the Legislative Assembly faces a massive defeat in the general elections to the Lok Sabha, as in 1977 and 1980.

Internal disturbance so that there is no internal dissection or physical disintegration or disturbance.

Misgovernance in the state or allegations of corruption against the Council of Ministers or financial crisis in the state.

Where no prior warning has been given to the State Government to rectify its mistake. Except in cases where the circumstances are about to turn into catastrophic events.

Where the power is used against the constitution to solve the problems within the ruling party or for someone else’s external or inconsistent purpose.

So overall this is President’s rule, I hope it is understandable. The next part of emergency is also financial emergency , must read that too.

President’s Rule Practice Quiz upsc

President's Rule

मूल संविधान भाग 18↗️
S. R. Bommai v. Union of India – wikipedia
President’s rule – wikipedia
M Laxmikant & DD Basu