What is Article 356 of the Indian Constitution?

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What is Article 356 of the Indian Constitution? Blog Image


The Supreme Court recently held that the declaration of State emergency under Article 356 and the subsequent actions of the President should have a “reasonable nexus”.

About Article 356

  • Article 356 of the Constitution of India is based on Section 93 of the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • According to Article 356, President's Rule can be imposed on any state of India on the grounds of the failure of the constitutional machinery.
  • This is of two types:
    • If the President receives a report from the state's Governor or is otherwise is convinced or satisfied that the state's situation is such that the state government cannot carry on the governance according to the provisions of the Constitution.
    • Article 365: As per this Article, President's Rule can be imposed if any state fails to comply with all directions given by the Union on matters it is empowered to.
  • In simple words, President's Rule is when the state government is suspended and the central government directly administers the state through the office of the governor (centrally appointed).
  • It is also called a State Emergency or Constitutional Emergency.
  • Parliamentary approval is necessary for the imposition of President's Rule in any state.
  • The proclamation of President's Rule should be approved in both Houses of Parliament within two months of its issue. The approval is by a simple majority.
  • The President's Rule is initially for a period of six months. Later, it can be extended for a period of three years with parliamentary approval, every six months.
  • The 44th Amendment to the Constitution (1978) brought in some constraints on the imposition of the President's Rule beyond a period of one year. It says that President's Rule cannot be extended beyond one year unless:
    • There is a national emergency in India.
    • The Election Commission of India certifies that it is necessary to continue the President's Rule in the state because of difficulties in conducting assembly elections in the state.
  • What happens after the President's Rule is imposed?
    • The governor carries on with the administration of the state on behalf of the President. He or she takes the help of the state's Chief Secretary and other advisors/administrators whom he or she can appoint.
    • The President has the power to declare that the state legislature's powers would be exercised by the Parliament.
    • The state legislative assembly would be either suspended or dissolved by the President.
    • When the Parliament is not in session, the President can promulgate ordinances with respect to the state's administration.
  • Revocation of the President's Rule:
    • President's Rule can be revoked anytime after such a proclamation has been made by a subsequent proclamation by the President. 
    • A proclamation of revocation does not require approval by Parliament. 

Q1) What is a national emergency in India?

Under Article 352 of the Constitution of India, the President can proclaim a national emergency where he is satisfied that there might be a threat to the security of India through war, or any external aggression (armed rebellion). It must get approved by both the houses within a period of one month. After approval, the emergency continues for up to six months. During the period of National Emergency, the President acquires certain additional powers and can give directions to any State with respect to the manner in which execution of powers are required to be done. He can modify the pattern of distribution of financial resources amongst the Union and the States. The President can suspend all the Fundamental Rights during National Emergency except for Article 20 and 21.

Source: Declaration of State emergency under Article 356 and subsequent actions of President should have reasonable nexus: SC