New Delhi: President’s rule came into effect in Jammu and Kashmir from midnight on Wednesday night. Earlier on June 20, the state was placed under Governor’s rule after BJP withdrew support to its alliance partner, People’s Democratic Party. The state assembly was subsequently dissolved by Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 21.
The change in the status from Governor’s rule to President’s rule has left many confused. This is because while in the rest of India, the two are co-terminus as under Article 356 of the constitution, during President’s rule the Centre exercises direct control over a state through the centrally-appointed Governor.
Jammu and Kashmir, on account of its special status, has a slightly different mechanism in place. Here the failure of governmental function results in Governor’s rule under Section 92 of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor later obtains the consent of the President of India. It is only when the Governor’s rule is not revoked for six months that the President’s rule is imposed in the state under Article 356.
The last time President’s rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir was in 1996 when due to heightened militancy the state was plunged into turmoil. This time the reason for the imposition of President’s rule is that the state was unable to form an alternate government after the collapse of the PDP-BJP alliance.
Though in late November, it appeared for once that PDP, National Conference and the Congress would be able to stitch an alliance and form the government, the 87-member state assembly was dissolved by the Governor before they could do so. Incidentally, two-member People’s Conference led by Sajjad Lone had also staked claim to form a government with 25 members of the BJP and other 18 unknown members. The Governor cited horse trading and lack of stability of government as reasons for his decision.
The gazette notification for imposition of President’s rule was issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It stated that the President received a report from Malik and upon considering it was “satisfied” that President’s rule was required.
Thereafter the notification was issued. It said:
“In pursuance…of the proclamation issued…by me under article 356 of the Constitution of India, I hereby direct that all the functions of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and all the powers vested in or exercisable by the Governor of that State…shall, subject to the superintendence, direction and control of the President, (and) be exercisable also by the Governor of the State.”
After the proclamation, the powers of the legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of parliament and all the decisions taken thereof shall have a concurrence of the President under Article 74 (1)(i) under which council of ministers with the prime minister, at the head, will aid and advise the President.
As per law, if elections are not held to the state assembly, the President’s rule can be extended by another six months.