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Explaining Article 356 and why is it Trending?

PM Narendra Modi, addressing the Parliament of India recalled that Indira governments at the Centre had dismissed more than seven state governments by misusing Article 356 of the Constitution. Former Congress PM Indira Gandhi had misused more than 4 dozen times to dismiss elected state governments. Article 356 of the Indian Constitution gives power to the imposition of “President’s Rule” in a state and removing an elected government. While the Constitution intended Article 356 to be used only under extraordinary circumstances. The Union governments, including the Janata government, repeatedly used the provision to settle political scores. Narendra Modi’s attack against the Indira Government came at a time when the Opposition has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The demand for a JPC probe came after the Hindenburg Research allegations. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has accused Adani and his companies of benefiting from the PM. 

The explanation of Article 356?

Article 356 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President to withdraw to the Union the executive and legislative powers of any state. Although there is a certain limitation if the President 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. If the President of India believes that, the constitutional machinery that has broken down at any time, either upon receipt of a report from the Governor, or suo motu. Article 356 defines that, President’s Rule in a state can be imposed for six months at a time for a maximum duration of three years. Every six months, Parliamentary approval to impose President’s Rule will be required again. However, in the past, the President’s Rule has been extended for significantly longer periods under specific circumstances. For instance, Punjab was under President’s Rule from 1987-1992 due to the growing militancy.

How did Article 356 originate?

Article 356 was inspired by Section 93 of the Government of India Act of 1935. This provided that if a Governor of any state was satisfied that; a situation had arisen in which he could not be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the said Act. The governor could assume to himself all or any of the powers of the government and discharge those functions at his discretion. The Governor, however, could not encroach upon the powers of the high court. During the decades of Congress’s dominance the Centre, Article 356 was used against governments of the Left and regional parties in the states. Until 1959, the government had used the article six times. The Nehru government dislodged the communist government in Kerala in 1959.

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