Competitive Exams: Political Science Study Material Federalism

Federalism, Article 356 and its misuse

Though Dr Ambedkar wanted the application of Article 356 as a last resort, it has been used frequently for self serving purposes and manifesting political or ideological vendetta.

  • The Article has been used invariable since seventies only to topple the government of rival parties.

  • In 1977, Janta government toppled the Congress run states invoking Article 356.

  • In 1980, on return of Congress to power, Janta governments were dismissed on a wholesale basis.

  • Later in nineties, BJP governments in states were dismissed invoking Article 356.

  • The process has continued to be carried on till date.

  • S R Bommai Judgment has put a curb on misuse of this Article to some extent.

Recommendations of S R Bommai Judgment

  1. The power under Article 356 should be used sparingly and with great circumstances.

  2. All alternatives should be exhausted to contain the situation and all attempts to resolve the crisis should be made.

  3. The governor's report should be the speaking document.

NCRWC recommendations

  1. Article 356 should be used sparingly and only as a remedy of the last resort and after exhausting actions under other Articles like 256, 257, 355 etc.

  2. In case of political breakdown, before issuing a proclamation under Article 356, the concerned state should be given an opportunity to explain its position and redress the situation, unless the situation is such that following the above course would not be in the interest of security of the state or defence of the country.

  3. The governor's report should be speaking document containing a precise and clear statement of all material facts and grounds.

Inter-State Council meet in Srinagar

  • It has finally endorsed the recommendations of Sarkaria Commission and NCRWC recommendations.

  • Centre has agreed to introduce safeguards in emergency provisions under Article 356 and promised to use it as a last resort.

  • It shall be used after exploring the provisions laid down under the Constitution and discharging the duty under Article 355.

  • The legislative assembly shall be kept in suspended animation until both the houses ratify the proclamation.

  • Governor's report shall be the speaking document.

  • Where invocation of Article 356 was necessitated, the facts and detailed reasons should be brought to the notice of the state governments concerned and its response obtained.

  • Material facts and grounds on which Article 356 are invoked should be made an integral part of the proclamation.

  • The Council, however, refused to establish a caretaker government.