Article 356 of the constitution enables Centre to impose President’s rule in States due to failure of constitutional machinery in the states. This matter was hotly debated in the Constituent Assembly debates as many members felt that this could lead to instability in the Indian federal system and cause irreparable harm to the functioning of State governments.
Unfortunately, India saw an unchecked and arbitrary use of this power by the Centre in the 1960s, 70s and 80s as any government change in the State led to declaration of President’s Rule by the Centre.
Eventually, it was the Supreme Court in SR Bommai Case in 1993 that laid down guidelines under which it could be imposed.
Need of President’s Rule:
- India is a young polity with diversity of languages, ethnicities, religions and regional practices. Unity of the nation is of supreme importance and hence, this provision allows centre to check any usurpation of power or unconstitutional actions by the States.
- It can be used in order to ensure that constitutional machinery is working as per the provisions of the constitution in States.