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Indian Polity

President’s Rule in Maharashtra

  • 13 Nov 2019
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The state of Maharashtra has been placed under the President’s Rule amid a stalemate over government formation after the assembly polls in October 2019.

  • The Union Cabinet recommended the President's rule in the state after Governor of the state submitted a report regarding the same.
    • In his report, the Governor said a situation has arisen that a stable government is not possible and the government could not be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
  • The President signed a proclamation imposing President's rule in Maharashtra under Article 356(1). The Assembly has been kept in suspended animation.

President’s Rule

  • Meaning
    • President’s Rule implies the suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre.
    • It is also known as ‘State Emergency’ or ‘Constitutional Emergency’.
  • Use of Article 356
    • The Supreme Court in Bommai case (1994) enlisted the situations where the exercise of power under Article 356 could be proper.
    • One such situation is that of ‘Hung Assembly’, i.e. where after general elections to the assembly, no party secures a majority.
  • Constitutional Provisions
    • The President’s Rule is imposed through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
    • Under Article 356, President’s Rule is imposed if the President, upon receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, 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.
  • Parliamentary Approval and Duration
    • A proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
    • The approval takes place through simple majority in either House, that is, a majority of the members of the House present and voting.
    • Initially valid for six months, the President’s Rule can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
  • Consequences of President’s Rule
    • The state governor, on behalf of the President, carries on the state administration with the help of the chief secretary of the state or the advisors appointed by the President.
    • The President can declare that the powers of the state legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
    • The President either suspends or dissolves the state legislative assembly.
  • Revocation
    • 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.

Punchii Commission’s Guidelines in case of a Hung Assembly

  • The party or combination of parties which commands the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the Government.
  • If there is a pre-poll alliance or coalition, it should be treated as one political party and if such coalition obtains a majority, the leader of such coalition shall be called by the Governor to form the Government.
  • In case no party or pre-poll coalition has a clear majority, the Governor should select the Chief Minister in the order of preference as indicated below:
    • The group of parties which had pre-poll alliance commanding the largest number.
    • The largest single party staking a claim to form the government with the support of others.
    • A post-electoral coalition with all partners joining the government.
    • A post-electoral alliance with some parties joining the government and the remaining including independents supporting the government from outside.

Source: TH

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