The Centre has recommended imposition of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir to meet state constitution’s requirement following expiry of six months of Governor’s rule on December 19.

The Union home ministry conveyed this to Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik after the go-ahead by the Cabinet in the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, people privy to the information told ET. The ministry acted on Malik’s report recommending President’s rule in the state, they said.

To complete the formality, President Ram Nath Kovind will issue a proclamation declaring that the powers of the state legislature shall be exercised by or under the authority of Parliament, said officials aware of the process. Due to the special status enjoyed by J&K, Article 356 cannot be invoked to impose President’s rule. But, as per section 92 of J&K constitution, the state is placed under Governor’s rule for the first six months and Centre’s rule can be extended by following it with President’s rule.

Governor’s rule was imposed in J&K after the state plunged into political turmoil after the BJP withdrew its 25 legislators from the PDP-BJP ruling coalition, reducing PDP to minority. Subsequently, on November 21, Malik dissolved the 87-member state assembly minutes before PDP could realign and stake claim with the backing of arch rival National Conference and Congress to form the government.

Malik ruffled feathers in political circles with his comment that the Centre wanted to install People’s Conference president Sajjad Lone as CM but he dissolved the assembly instead because “otherwise I would have become dishonest forever”.

About the process of imposing President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir

The official said President Ram Nath Kovind will have to issue a proclamation declaring that the powers of the legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.

Since the state has a separate Constitution, in such cases, six months of Governor’s Rule is compulsory under Article 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, under which, all the legislative powers are vested with the governor.

The governor has to dissolve the Legislative Assembly after six months. The state then directly comes under President’s rule for another six months after which elections have to be held in the state.

In case the elections are not declared, President’s Rule can be extended by another six months. The governor dissolved the assembly citing horse-trading and lack of stability to form a government as the reasons.

What is President’s Rule?

  • President’s Rule is the imposition of Article 356 of the India Constitution on a state which gets incapable of running the constitutional machinery
  • In such times, the state comes under the direct control of the central government of India, which is termed as “under the President’s Rule”
  • The President dissolves the state assembly and orders the centrally appointed Governor to execute the operations of the state

Why is it implemented?

President’s Rule is implemented under the following circumstances:

  • If a state is unable to elect a leader as its Chief Minister
  • If the state’s coalition government fails
  • If the state’s elections are postponed for unavoidable reasons
  • If the state is unable to comply with the constitutional norms.

What can the President do under his rule?

  • Until 1994, the President had an absolute and unfettered power to impose Article 356 on any state, which is experiencing political unrest. It was implemented at the time of the India-China and Indo-Pak wars, civil unrest and political upheavals
  • In 1994, the Supreme Court passed an order that changed this. The Supreme Court directed that the President is not beyond the Constitution, hence, he will not enjoy the absolute authority to impose Article 356 at his will
  • The President’s role during the imposition will be based on a report prepared by the affected state’s Governor. The President will only exercise those powers that are approved by both the Houses of Parliament
  • Imposition of the President’s Rule is nothing new in India. In fact, the Indian states have faced the President’s Rule a total of 124 times.