The political turmoil in Karnataka snowballed into a constitutional crisis on Friday with the teetering government being slapped with two consecutive deadlines from the state’s governor to prove its majority.
While the BJP leaders demanded state Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s opinion on the governor’s directive, the CM moved the Supreme Court saying that Governor Vajubhai Vala cannot dictate the manner in which the debate on the confidence motion has to be taken up in the Assembly. In view of such turn of events in Karnataka, which were initially triggered by the resignation of 15 MLAs of the ruling Congress-JD(S) and two independents, talks of President’s Rule being imposed on the state are doing the rounds.
Article 356 of the Constitution of India empowers the President to withdraw from the Union the executive and legislative powers of any state “if he 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”.
The determination of the breakdown of constitutional machinery may be done by the President at any time, either upon receipt of a report from the Governor, or suo motu. If approved by both the houses, the President’s Rule, as it is most-commonly called, can continue for 6 months. It can be extended for a maximum of 3 months with the approval of the Parliament.
Recent instances where Article 356 has been imposed
Since the formation of the Republic, President’s Rule under Article 356 has been imposed in states in over 100 occasions. The latest being in Jammu and Kashmir. After completion of six months of Governor’s rule, President Ram Nath Kovind on December 19, 2018, imposed President’s rule in the state, which had plunged into a political crisis after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government collapsed.
On June 12 this year, the Union Cabinet approved the extension of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another six months, beginning from July 3.
Arunachal Pradesh came under President’s Rule from December 16, 2015, to February 19, 2016, after Congress MLAs approached Governor JP Rajkhowa seeking to impeach Speaker Nabam Rebia. The Governor agreed and called for an emergency session to take up the impeachment motion. Congress protested the Governor’s action, but the Centre went ahead and imposed President’s Rule in the state invoking Article 356.
President’s Rule was also in force in Delhi with the Assembly in suspended animation from February 14, 2014, to February 11, 2015, when Arvind Kejriwal resigned as the chief minister after his move to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill fell through in the Assembly. Follow Karnataka Crisis LIVE Updates here
Article 356 was also imposed in Maharashtra from September 28, 2014, to October 31, 2014, after chief minister Prithviraj Chavan resigned following the collapse of the 15-year-old Congress-NCP alliance in the state.
Andhra Pradesh faced the President’s Rule from February 28, 2014, to June 8, 2014, due to a political crisis caused by the resignation of CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy and other Congress legislators on February 19, protesting against the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill that bifurcated the state and created a separate state of Telangana.
President’s Rule was declared in Jharkhand from January 18, 2013, to July 12, 2013, as the Arjun Munda-led BJP government was reduced to a minority after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) withdrew support. Munda resigned and sought dissolution of the state Assembly.