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09 OCTOBER, 2017 (MAINS)


Q1. What is the role of the Governor in case of a constitutional crisis in his state? What were the main contentious issues recently raised about the role of the Governor in imposing President’s Rule in a state where constitutional machinery is believed to have failed?


Please write the answer in comments section

  • Osho Korde

    In states ruled by a party other than the ruling party at the centre, conflict between the State Council of Ministers and the Governor is very likely. The Governor may and often does manipulate the situations to precipitate a constitutional crisis, using his powers under art. 356. It requires a Governor of exceptional integrity to stand firm between centre and the state.
    HT explains the legal position on the controversial provision of the Constitution.
    • Breakdown of constitutional machinery
    • Governor’s report or otherwise
    • Governor’s discretion
    • Implications of President’s rule
    SR Bommai case
    In the SR Bommai case, the Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that courts can’t question the Union Cabinet’s advice to the President but they can question the material behind the satisfaction of the President regarding breakdown of constitutional machinery. It also said that the use of Article 356 was justified only when there was a breakdown of constitutional machinery and not that of administrative machinery.
    Bihar assembly dissolution case
    The Supreme Court in January 2006 declared the dissolution of the Bihar assembly as null and void in the Buta Singh case. It held that the governor’s report could not be taken at face value and must be verified by the council of ministers before being used as the basis for imposing President’s rule.