What is President’s rule

President’s Rule refers to the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre. The central government takes direct control of the state in question and the Governor becomes its constitutional head. The Vidhan Sabha is either dissolved or prorogued. Such a situation forces the Election Commission to conduct a re-election within six months. 

How is President’s rule imposed in a state? 

Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives the President of India the power to impose this rule on a state on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers. There are some conditions that the President has to consider before imposing the rule: 

a) 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 the Constitution. 

b) The state government is unable to elect a leader as chief minister within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state. 

c) There’s a breakdown of a coalition leading to the chief minister having a minority support in the House, and the CM fails to prove majority in the given period of time.

d) Loss of majority in the Assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the House. 

e) Elections postponed on account of situations like natural disasters, war or epidemic. 

Does the President’s rule impact people? 

No, it does not. However, once the President’s rule has been imposed on a state, no major government decisions can be made. No major policy decisions can be implemented nor can any project be sanctioned till the time President’s rule is revoked and the next government is formed.

What is the duration of the President’s rule? 

Proclamation of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution stands for six months. This timeframe can be extended up to three years, in phases. President’s Rule can be revoked at any time by the President and this does not require Parliament’s approval. According to the 44th Amendment Act of 1978, President’s rule can only be extended over a year every 6 months under the following conditions: — The Election Commission certifies that elections cannot be conducted in the state concerned. — There is already a national emergency throughout India or in the whole or any part of the state. 

What option do the elected representatives of the state have? 

In case President’s Rule has been evoked because of a breakdown of coalition or a hung Assembly, it is not the end of the road for any political party. With the Assembly in suspended animation, stakeholders can approach the Governor any time with the required proof of support to prove majority on the floor of the House. The EC notification on the election is treated as the new Assembly having been constituted.

Recent Incident where President’s rule has been imposed in a state 

On November 12, 2019, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari imposed President’s rule in the state following an election that did not lead to government formation. The crisis started after all the four major parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Congress (NCP) and the Congress Party — didn’t stake claim to form a government and failed to stitch alliances to prove a majority.

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