Short Note : Governor’s rule in Jammu & Kashmir

Published: June 28, 2019

The Lok Sabha has passed a resolution which has extended the President s rule in Jammu & Kashmir by another six months. The Jammu & Kashmir has been under President s rule since June 20, 2018, after the ruling coalition of Mehbooba Mufti s PDP and the BJP broke down. The state assembly was dissolved in November.

President s Rule

  • The President s rule in India is the imposition of central government s rule in a state if it thinks that the administrative machinery of the state has broken down or the state government is unable to function as per its constitutional provisions.
  • The President s rule is invoked under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution and under Section 92 of the J& K constitution.
  • In a President s rule, the executive functions of a state may be discharged by the Governor who also appoint any more non-partisan administrators to assist him.
  • In J&K, the President s rule is referred to as the Governor s rule.
  • While the Section 92 of the J&K constitution does not permit a President (or Governor, in his stead) rule in the state for more than six months, the Lok Sabha has already extended the President s rule twice now. Fresh elections should have been held by now but the prevailing security conditions are not conducive for elections.
  • The President s rule must be allowed by both houses of the Parliament at every 6-month intervals.

Historical Precedent

While the Article 356 was envisaged as a method of last resort which was to used rarely (a dead letter) by the Constitution makers, successive central governments have used it to justify short term political gains. In 1983, the Sarkaria Commission Report on Centre-State Relations had recommended that Article 356 be used rarely and in only extreme cases. The true restrictions on the arbitrary impositions of the President s rule were imposed by the Supreme Court in its landmark 1984 SR Bommai vs the Union of India ruling. Article 356 has always been a big bone of contention between the state and central governments in India.

Its unjustified imposition undermines the Federal nature of the Indian State.

 

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