The use of Article 356 of the Constitution of India has been a subject of continuous debate. Point out the propositions laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the Bommai Case pertaining to the imposition of the Article 356.

The use of Article 356 of the Constitution of India has been a subject of continuous debate. Point out the propositions laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the Bommai Case pertaining to the imposition of the Article 356.

Approach

  • Introduce with the intent behind A356 and misuse of this provision.
  • Discuss the propositions laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the Bommai Case.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

In case of the failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, the Centre can take over the government of such state under the Article 356 of the Constitution of India. This is popularly known as the Presidents Rule or State Emergency. Dr. BR Ambedkar hoped that the drastic power conferred by this provision would be used as a measure of last resort only. However, since independence, this provision has been used in an arbitrary manner for political purposes.

To tackle the arbitrariness of the Article 356, the Supreme Court of India laid down following propositions in the Bommai Case (1994):

  • The imposition of Article 356 is subject to the judicial review
  • The Burden of proof is on centre that relevant material exists to justify the proclamation of A356
  • The proclamation of Article 356 can be struck down by the court if it is malafide or based on irrelevant grounds.
  • If the proclamation of Article 356 is invalidated, the court can restore the dismissed state government and revive the state legislative assembly
  • The state legislative assembly can be suspended till the proclamation of Article 356 is approved by the Parliament. Only after such approval, the assembly can be dissolved.
  • A state government pursuing anti-secular policies are liable to action under Article 356.
  • The question of the state government losing the confidence of the legislative assembly should be decided on the floor of the house, and until then the ministry should not be unseated.
  • When a new party enters to power in the centre, it does not have authority to dismiss the ministries of the other parties in the states.
  • Article 356 gives an exceptional power and should be used only occasionally to deal with specific situations.

The last proposition mentioned above is very important because to uphold the spirit of the cooperative federalism in India the centre must be very patient and allow the states to function properly within the scope of the constitution.To guide the centre in exercising the power given under Article 356, the Supreme Court of India also enlisted the situations were the use of Article 356 will be proper or improper.

Subjects : Polity

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One thought on “The use of Article 356 of the Constitution of India has been a subject of continuous debate. Point out the propositions laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the Bommai Case pertaining to the imposition of the Article 356.

  1. Thanqu for helping me ….I am an aspirant of self study and your emails helps me a lot …..god bless you 🙏

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