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What was hoped to be a ‘dead-letter’ of the Constitution has become one of the most controversial provisions. Discuss in the context of Article 356.




Article 356 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Centre to take over the State Government on certain grounds. Popularly known as the President’s rule it authorizes the President to assume both legislative and executive powers of the state.

Grounds for imposition:

It was hoped to be a dead-letter and was supposed to be used as a measure of last resort because:

The Sarkaria Commission has recommended rare use of this article i.e. only after all the other alternatives are exhausted. In S.R.Bommai vs. Union of India (1994), the SC held that the President’s proclamation imposing President’s rule is subject to judicial review and is liable to be struck down if it is based on irrelevant and malafide sources/intentions. The courts can reinstate the State Government in such a case. This was recently upheld in the Nabam Rebia and etc. vs. Deputy Speaker and Ors. 2016.

Even after the SC ruling, many State governments were dismissed without the compulsory floor test. Therefore, it is imperative to follow the SC directives in letter and spirit to promote the ideal of cooperative federalism.

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