The Article 356 of the Constitution of Republic of India deals with President’s Rule which denotes the failure of the Constitutional mechanism of an Indian state.
In the event of President’s Rule which is caused due to the government’s failure in a state to function as per the Constitutional norms, the state comes under the direct control of the central government, with decision-making authority exercised through the Governor instead of a Council of Ministers headed by an elected Chief Minister accountable to the state legislature.
If there has been failure of the constitutional machinery, Article 356 is put into practice. During the President’s rule, the sole authority lies with the governor of the state. He may wisely utilize the services of retired civil servants or other administrators for assisting him. Such nominees will perform the same roles of council of ministers in the state cabinet.
President’s rule can be imposed under different circumstances as follows:
- Uncertainty of electing the Chief Minister
- Revoking of support by a supporting party
- Greater delay in holding the elections
- Loss of no confidence motion
Most recently the state of Delhi has been imposed with President’s rule under unavoidable circumstances. Now, as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has also submitted his resignation and opted not to be an interim Chief Minister also, there is a probability that President’s rule may be imposed in the state. Kiran Kumar Reddy, the Chief Minister’s resignation has been approved by the state governor ESL Narasimhan. Under these circumstances, there are two options left with the Congress Party high command:
- To nominate the new Chief Minister
- To order for the president’s rule
The former appears to be most uncertain due to the looming elections and the notification for the same within a few days. So, it is most likely that President’s rule may be imposed in the state. It will surely serve two purposes: One- controlling of law and order situation at this crucial juncture of state bifurcation, second-removing any sort of uncertainties being faced by the Congress Party.
If the President’s rule is imposed in the state, it will be the third time for such an imposition in the state. At earlier instances, for the first time due to the loss of majority, the President’s rule was imposed on 15 Nov 1954 and it last up to 29 March 1955. In the second instance, it was during the Jai Andhra agitation, President’s rule was imposed from 11 Jan 1973 to 10 Dec 1973.