S.R. Bommai Case

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 23, 2022, 11:37

Between August 13, 1988, and April 21, 1989, S.R. Bommai was the Chief Minister of Karnataka's Janata Dal government. On April 21, 1989, his government was dismissed under Article 365 of the Constitution.

S.R. Bommai challenged the Governor's decision, referred to as the S.R. Bommai Case. He wrote a petition to the Karnataka High Court, but that was dismissed. He then took his case to the Supreme court of India.

S.R. Bommai Case History

S.R. Bommai's government was dissolved under Article 356 of the Constitution, and President's Rule was established, which was a typical practice to put opposition parties at bay. The dismissal was based on the fact that the Bommai government had lost its majority due to large-scale defections orchestrated by several party leaders.

Despite Bommai giving him a copy of the resolution passed by the Janata Dal Legislature Party, Governor P. Venkatasubbaiah refused to allow him to test his majority in the Assembly.

S.R. Bommai Case Action Taken by the Supreme Court

It took almost five years for the case to reach a logical conclusion.

On March 11, 1994, a Supreme Court Constitution Bench consisting nine-judge announced the landmark ruling, which effectively put a halt to the arbitrary dismissal of state governments under Article 356 by laying out conditions.

S.R. Bommai Case - About the Judgement

According to the ruling, the President's right to remove a state administration is not absolute.

The President should only exercise his power if both Houses of Parliament has authorised his proclamation (imposition of their rule). The President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly until then, according to the Court, by suspending the Legislative Assembly's provisions in the Constitution.

It is not a given that the Legislative Assembly will be dissolved. Only use it if it's required to achieve the proclamation's goals.

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S.R. Bommai Case Significance

The S.R. Bommai Case has a lot of significance. The case ended the hostile Central government's arbitrary removal of state governments.

The ruling also stated the floor of the Assembly unequivocally is the only place in which the majority of the government of the day should be put to the test, rather than the Governor's (frequently referred to as the Central government's agent) subjective opinion.

Since one cannot predict the length of period for which one can remain in power, Chief Ministers will have to serve with the constant reminder of such judgements.

Therefore, there might be hindrances in the discharge of duty from the side of the Chief Minister.

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S.R. Bommai Case - First Impact of the Verdict

In one of the first examples of the case's impact, the A.B. Vajpayee government was forced to reconstitute a government it had sacked in 1999.

When it became evident that the Central government would lose in the Rajya Sabha over the issue, the Rabri Devi administration, fired on February 12, 1999, was reinstated on March 8, 1999.

The S.R. Bommai Case still holds a lot of relevance as it is always bought up whenever there are chances of a conflict of interest between the Chief Minister and the Governor. It has also brought a system in which a government is overthrown after thorough consideration.

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FAQs on S.R. Bommai Case

Q1. Why is the S.R. Bommai Case relevant?

The S.R. Bommai Case is relevant as it is one of the most quoted verdicts in Indian Politics.

Q2. How often has the article related to S.R. Bommai Case been misused?

Article 356, the article related to S.R. Bommai Case, has been misused more than 125 times.

Q3. The S.R. Bommai Case is related to whom?

The S.R. Bommai Case is related to SR Bommai, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka.

Q4. What is the primary focus of the S.R. Bommai Case?

The S.R. Bommai Case raises questions about the proclamation of the President's rule in a state.