Supreme Court rapped Union Government over delay in Delhi government formation

Oct 29, 2014 17:03 IST

Supreme Court on 28 October 2014 rapped the Union Government and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung over delay in Delhi Government formation.

The reprimand came when the Union Government informed Supreme Court that the President of India Pranab Mukherjee had given consent to invite the single-largest party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) for forming the government in Delhi.

The Supreme Court also mentioned that in a democracy President Rule cannot go on forever. Currently, Delhi is in its eighth month of President Rule after the previous Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government headed by Arvind Kejriwal resigned in February 2014.

Article 356: President's rule

President's rule refers to Article 356 of the Constitution of India that deals with the failure of the constitutional machinery of an Indian state.

Article 356 is invoked if there has been failure of the constitutional machinery in any state of India. During President's rule, the Governor has the authority to appoint retired civil servants or other administrators to assist him.

Provisions of Article 356

Article 356 (1) talks about the manner in which the President can proclaim emergency in a State and also the powers which can be assumed by the President

Article 356 (2) provides that Proclamation may be revoked or varied by a subsequent Proclamation whereas Article 356 (3) provides for checks upon the power of President to impose emergency.

Article 356 (4) provides that "a Proclamation approved by both the Houses of Parliament shall, unless revoked, cease to operate on the expiration of a period of six months from the date of issue of the Proclamation (The 44th Amendment Act reduced the period in this clause from one year to six months).

The provision to clause (4), however, empowers such Proclamation to be extended, beyond six months subject to the approval of Parliament for a further period of six months at a time subject to an outer limit of three years.

Reasons for President Rule

There are various reasons for which President’s rule can be imposed on a State. The failure of the State government to function as per the Constitution is the first step towards this. Other factors include the loss of majority, break down of law and order, indecisive outcome of elections, no alternate claimant to form the government, insurgency, defections and break-up of coalition.


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