Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Maharashtra placed under President’s Rule
What to study?
For Prelims: What is President’s rule? Implications of the rule.
For Mains: Controversies over the misuse of this power and measures to address them.
Context: President Ram Nath Kovind has approved a proclamation imposing President’s Rule in Maharashtra under Article 356(1) of the Constitution, following a recommendation from Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
The Assembly will be kept under suspended animation.
In his report to the President, the governor said a situation had arisen in which it was impossible to constitute or form a stable government in the State, and the government could not be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
What is President’s Rule in the Indian context?
Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives President of India the power to suspend state government and impose President’s rule of any state in the country if “if he 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”.
- Upon the imposition of this rule, there would be no Council of Ministers. The Vidhan Sabha is either dissolved or prorogued.
- The state will fall under the direct control of the Union government, and the Governor will continue to be head the proceedings, representing the President of India – who is the Head of the State.
- The imposition of the President’s rule requires the sanction of both the houses of Parliament.
- If approved, it can go on for a period of six months. However, the imposition cannot be extended for more than three years, and needs to be brought before the two houses every six months for approval.
How does it affect the people of the state?
While day to day operations of the state will not be affected, President’s rule would mean that for the next six months no major government decisions will be made. No projects will be sanctioned, and no major policy decisions including subsidies and others will be made — keeping the progress in a can until the next government is formed.
- A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.
- This happens, in case, the leader of a party produces letters of support from a majority of members of the Assembly, and stakes his claim to form a government.
What’s the issue in Maharashtra?
In the recent elections to the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the BJP got 105 seats, the Shiv Sena got 56, NCP 54 and the Congress 44 seats. Although the BJP and Shiv Sena had fought the election as an alliance, after the results, the alliance fell apart on the issue of who will be the chief minister. No single party got a majority in the House, and no alliance could be formed claiming a majority. Hence the governor of the state recommended President’s Rule, which was imposed.
Why is the governor’s move being criticised?
When the governor of Maharashtra could not find any party or combination of parties that appeared to have a majority in the Assembly, before recommending imposition of President’s Rule, he should have sent a message to the House under Article 175(2), after summoning it under Article 174(1), asking the House to assemble, deliberate and then inform him within a reasonable period of time in whom it has confidence, so that he could be appointed chief minister.
In Bommai’s case, it was held that imposition of President’s Rule was a very serious step, and is a last option, to be resorted to only when all other recourses have failed. Hence without resorting to the options available, recommending imposition of President’s Rule straightaway is clearly seen as unconstitutional.
Sources: the Hindu.