Article 356 [President's Rule Article]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 17, 2022, 6:41

Article 356 of the Indian Constitution gives the President the authority to remove a state's administrative and legislative powers from the Union "if he is persuaded that a situation has arisen in which the state's administration cannot be carried out following the Constitution."

In other words, the President's Rule Article is invoked when the state government is suspended, and the state is administered directly by the central government through the centrally appointed governor's office. It is also known as a "State Emergency" or a "Constitutional Emergency."

Definition of Article 356 of the Indian Constitution

Article 356 of the Constitution allows the President to establish President's Rule on any Indian state if the constitutional framework fails. There are two forms of this -

  • If the President gets a report from the Governor of the state or is otherwise convinced or satisfied that the state's position is such that the state government cannot rule according to the Constitution's provisions.
  • If a state fails to comply with all orders made by the Union on subjects over which it has authority, President's Rule may be imposed.

Article 356 Imposition

When any of the following situations occurs, President's Rule under Article 356 is imposed -

  • The state legislature is unable to elect a leader to serve as Chief Minister for a period set by the state's governor.
  • The Chief Minister has minority support in the legislature due to the disintegration of a state government coalition and being unable to prove his majority within the governor's deadline.
  • The loss of the majority because of a vote of no confidence in the legislative assembly.
  • Delayed election due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters, epidemics, or war.

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Article 356 Revocation

President's Rule can be withdrawn by a future proclamation by the President at any time after such a proclamation has been made. The Parliament does not have to approve a revocation proclamation.

When a political party's leader provides letters confirming majority support in the assembly, they stake their claim to establish the state government.

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Misuse of Article 356

  • The Sarkaria Committee said in 2015 that Article 356 has been misused over 100 times since independence.
  • Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi invoked Article 356 27 times to depose majority governments, citing political stability, a lack of a clear mandate, or withdrawal of support, among other reasons.
  • When the Janata administration became the government for the first time in 1977, they dismissed nine state Congress governments.
  • Because of the state's profoundly fractured internal politics and extended periods of conflict, Manipur has seen the most frequent use of Article 356.
  • The politically important states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with their divided political systems, have been on the centre's radar and frequently witnessed the imposition of Article 356.

Article 356 has always been at the centre of a larger discussion about India's central government structure.

The President's Rule Article granted the central government the liberty to impose its will on state governments. Even though it was intended just to protect the country's integrity and unity, it has been openly utilised to depose state governments run by political opponents of the centre.

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FAQs on Article 356

Q1. What is Article 356?

Ans. The President's Rule, which is enshrined in Article 356 of the Constitution, empowers the government to establish direct rule over any state.

Q2. What is the maximum period during which Article 356 may be imposed?

Ans. The President's Rule imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution is effective for a maximum of six months in the state from the date of issuance.

Q3. Who has the authority to declare a state of emergency under Article 356?

Ans. The President of India has the authority to declare or suspend a state of emergency under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.

Q4. How can a state of emergency under Article 356 be lifted in India?

Ans. The President may cancel a proclamation of Article 356 or President's Rule at any moment by issuing a new proclamation. A proclamation like this does not need to be approved by the legislature.