President’s rule should be based only on ‘objective material’, said Supreme Court in Bommai case

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News:President’s rule has been imposed in Maharashtra after the Governor had sent a report to the Centre stating that the formation of a stable government is impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts.

Facts:

About President’s Rule:

  • President’s rule refers to the imposition of Article 356 of the Constitution of India on a State whose constitutional machinery has failed.
  • The proclamation by the President under Article 356 is on the advice of the Council of Ministers tendered under Article 74(1).
  • The proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
  • The approval takes place through simple majority in either House that is, a majority of the members of the House present and voting.
  • The President’s Rule initially valid for six months can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
  • During President’s rule, the executive authority is exercised through the centrally appointed Governor who has the authority to appoint administrators to assist him.

Grounds of Imposition of President Rule:President’s rule has been imposed under any one of the following different circumstances:

  • When a state legislature is unable to elect a leader as Chief minister for a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Breakdown of a coalition leading to the Chief minister having minority support in the house and the Chief minister fails fail to prove majority, within a time prescribed by the Governor of that state.
  • Loss of majority in the assembly due to a vote of no-confidence in the house.
  • Elections postponed for unavoidable reasons like war, epidemic or natural disasters.
  • On the report of the governor if the state machinery/legislature fails to abide by constitutional norms.

S.R. Bommai judgement:

  • The court has held that political whim or fancy cannot form the basis for the President to proclaim central rule in a State.
  • The President has to be convinced that an objective material is available in the report sent by the Governor or otherwise which indicates that the situation of President’s rule has arisen.
  • However,the court had stated that although the sufficiency or otherwise of the material cannot be questioned but the legitimacy of inference drawn from such material is certainly open to judicial review.
  • President should also exercise the power only after his proclamation is approved by both Houses of Parliament.Till then the President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly by suspending the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Legislative Assembly.