Article 356, is one of the articles among the Emergency provisions of the Indian Constitution. It is an Article in part XVIII (Articles 352-360).

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The NDA government has asked for President’s rule in Arunachal and President Pranab Mukherjee has sought clarifications from the central government on the need to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution in this instance.

Article 356, is one of the articles among the Emergency provisions of the Indian Constitution. It is an Article in part XVIII (Articles 352-360).

Specifically, it permits the President to take over the running of the affairs of a state, if (s)he is satisfied that there is a failure, a Constitutional breakdown and the government in the state cannot be run in accordance with the Constitution.

Once Article 356 is imposed and President’s rule declared, it needs the approval of both houses of Parliament if it is to remain. It needs to be placed before the House within two months of its proclamation and once Parliament approves it, President’s Rule can be in place for up to six month.

Article 356 was increasingly misused by central governments against state governments run by opposition parties in the late seventies and into the eighties.

The Sarkaria Commission notes that while in the first few years after the Constitution, it was invoked only thrice, from 1950-4, from 1975-79, it was invoked 21 times and from 1980-87, 18 times.

The state of J&K and the north-eastern states have had to bear the brunt of the Article being used against sitting governments .
It has been the subject of much judicial deliberation, and the nine-judge Bommai judgment in 1994 states that the majority for any ruling combine in a state assembly must be proven on the floor of the House.

That takes away power from Raj Bhavan and restores the primacy of the state legislature or the House.

Successive Presidents, KR Narayanan, APJ Abdul Kalam among others, have been reluctant to bless moves to dismiss state governments. Pranab Mukherjee have joined that list today.

Note :- Refer President chapter of your polity book to know more about president’s power.

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