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WHEN THE LAW-AND-ORDER SITUATION IS SCRAMBLED CAN ASSEMBLY BE DISSOLVED? CAN THE PRESIDENT ORDER FOR A FRESH ELECTION? LANDMARK CASES  

May 2, 2022

Part XVIII of the constitution deals with such a situation that arises in the state of India. Let’s first read those provisions: Duration of State Legislatures.—(1) Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer and the expiration of the said period of [five years] shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly: Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate. (2) The Legislative Council of a State shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as possible one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every second year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by Parliament by law. Article 174(2) (2) The Governor may from time to time (a) Prorogue the House or either House; (b) dissolve the Legislative Assembly Article 355: Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance.—It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. Dictum: Naga Peoples Movement vs Union of India Reference in this context may be made to Article 355 of the Constitution whereunder a duty has been imposed on the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. In view of the said provision, the Union Government is under an obligation to take steps to deal with a situation of internal disturbance in a State. There can be a situation arising out of internal disturbance which may justify the issuance of a proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution enabling the President to assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State. That would depend on the gravity of the situation arising on account of such internal disturbance and on the President being satisfied that a situation has arisen where the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with provisions of the Constitution. Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in State: (1) If the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the President may be Proclamation (a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the State and all or any of the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor or anybody or authority in the State other than the Legislature of the State; (b) declare that […]

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WHY CENTRAL GOVERNMENT RELUCTANT TO IMPOSE PRESIDENT RULE IN WEST BENGAL?

May 5, 2021

Let us see various provisions of the Indian Constitution. Article 352 in The Constitution of India Proclamation of Emergency (1) If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or of any part of the territory thereof is threatened, whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion, he may, by Proclamation, made a declaration to that effect in respect of the whole of India or of such part of the territory thereof as may be specified in the Proclamation Explanation A Proclamation of Emergency declaring that the security of India or any part of the territory thereof is threatened by war or by external aggression or by armed rebellion may be made before the actual occurrence of war or of any such aggression or rebellion, if the President is satisfied that there is imminent danger thereof  Note: This power was exercised in the year 1977 Article 355 casts duty on the state to provide safety and security. Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. 44th Amendment: The Forty-fourth Constitutional Amendment substituted “armed rebellion” for “internal disturbance” in Article 352. “Internal disturbance” is, therefore, no longer a ground for taking action under that Article. Further, it cannot, by itself, be a ground for imposing President’s rule under Article 356(1), if it is not intertwined with a situation where the government of a State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. What is Internal Disorder: ( Source Sarkaria Commission Report) 6.3.04 It is difficult to define precisely the concept of ‘internal disturbance’. Similar provisions, however, occur in the Constitutions of other countries. Article 16 of the Federal Constitution of Switzerland uses the expression “internal disorder”. The Constitutions of the United States of America and Australia use the expression ‘domestic violence’. The framers of the Indian Constitution have, in place of this term, used the expression ‘internal disturbance’. Obviously, they have done so as they intended to cover not only domestic violence, but something more. The scope of the term ‘internal disturbance’ is wider than ‘domestic violence’. It conveys the sense of ‘domestic chaos’, which takes the colour of a security threat from its associate expression, ‘external aggression’. Such a chaos could be due to various causes. Large-scale public disorder which throws out of gear the even tempo of administration and endangers the security of the State, is ordinarily, one such cause. Such an internal disturbance is normally man-made. But it can be Nature-made, also. Natural calamities of unprecedented magnitude, such as flood, cyclone, earth-quake, epidemic, etc. may paralyse the government of the State and put its security in jeopardy. Instances: Gujarat.—(9-2-1974) The anti-price-rise agitation in Gujarat turned into a mass movement with demands for removal of the Ministry and dissolution of the Assembly. Army had to be called in at some places to deal with violence. […]

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