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Day 27 – Q 4. What are the circumstances under which President’s rule can be imposed in a state? Has the executive misused these provisions of late? Critically examine. 

4. What are the circumstances under which President’s rule can be imposed in a state? Has the executive misused these provisions of late? Critically examine. 

किसी राज्य में राष्ट्रपति शासन किस परिस्थिति में लगाया जा सकता है? क्या कार्यपालिका ने हाल में इन प्रावधानों का दुरुपयोग किया है? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।


President’s rule refers to the suspension of state government and imposition of direct central government rule in a state. Article 356, which deals with president’s rule, was adopted by the Constituent Assembly bearing in mind the abnormal conditions the country was passing through like communal riots, refugee influx, the Telangana armed rebellion and much else. 


Grounds for imposition of President’s rule-

Article 356 states that President rule can be imposed in any state on grounds of failure of Constitutional Machinery, and failure is of two types:-

  • If President on receipt of report by Governor of a State or otherwise is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which govt of that state can’t be carried in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution then President Rule can be imposed.
  • Article 365 states that every state shall comply with all directions given by Union on matters it empowers to do so. If any state fails to comply with directions of union then President Rule can be imposed.

In practice, president’s rule has been imposed under any one of the following different circumstances:

  • A state legislature is unable to elect a leader as chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails/will definitely fail to prove otherwise, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
  • Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic or natural disasters.
  • Article 356 state that the president can invoke president rule in a state on the report of the governor if the state machinery/legislature fails to abide by constitutional norms.

If approved by both houses, president’s rule can continue for 6 months. It can be extended for a maximum of 3 years with the approval of the Parliament done every 6 months. President’s rule can be revoked at any time by the president and does not need the Parliament’s approval.

Misuse of President’s rule:

TLP Phase 1 – Day 27 Synopsis

TLP Phase 1 – Day 27 Synopsis

  • Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had hoped that Article 356 would remain a “dead letter”. A cursory glance at the data shows that this has been far from the truth. Sarkaria Commission notes that since independence, it has been used over 100 times.
  • The discretionary power of Governor under Article 163 is one of the major reasons behind misuse of president rule in India because he/she has no binding to consult Council of Ministers while preparing and sending the report to President.
  • It is one of the centralising provision of the Indian constitution and it is seen by many as a threat to the federal state system.
  • 1970s and 80s will be remembered for the most spiteful use of Article 356. From the year 1971 to 1984, it was used 59 times with maximum being used in the period 1977-79 during which Morai Desai government ruled.
  • The frequency of using Article 356 has been greatly reduced since the mid-1990s despite an increasingly higher number of states being ruled by parties other than that in the central government.
  • The mid-1990s was marked by the rise of regional parties which also rejuvenated other institutional safeguards – the courts and the President – against arbitrary imposition of Article 356.
  • In 1994, the Supreme Court delivered the landmark SR Bommai judgment where the Court discussed at length provisions of Article 356 and related issues. This case had a huge impact on Centre-State Relations. The misuse of Article 356 reduced after this judgment.
  • But recent times have seen an increase in the instances of use of provisions of article 356 as evident from Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh states where the Supreme Court had to intervene eventually.


The spirit of “cooperative federalism” can preserve the balance between the Union and the States and promote the good of the people and not an attitude of dominance or superiority. The role of governor in this regard is indispensable for the successful working of the constitutional democracy which will ensure proper utilisation of provisions of article 356.

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