President’s Rule Imposed

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SRINAGAR — After completion of six months of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday, the state came under President’s rule paving the way for the union cabinet to take all policy decisions related to the state. 

It will be for the first time since October 9, 1996, when the Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference took over at the end of six years of direct central rule. 

The state has been under central rule eight times, and moved from Governor’s rule to President’s rule (after six months) on two of those occasions. This will be the third time.

President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for imposition of central rule in the state, which plunged into a political crisis in June after the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government was reduced to minority following withdrawal of support by the 25-member BJP in the state.

The gazette notification issued Wednesday said the President has received a report from Governor Satya Pal Malik and after considering it and other information, he was “satisfied” that President’s rule in the state was needed.

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“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,” the notification said.

The union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the decision on Monday after Governor Satya Pal Malik sent a report to the central government recommending imposition of President’s rule in 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.

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 legislature powers are vested with the governor.

The governor on November 21 dissolved the 87-member state assembly after the PDP, supported by the Congress and their arch rivals National Conference, had staked claim to form the government.

Simultaneously, the 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 had dissolved the assembly citing horse-trading and lack of stability to form a government as the reasons.

In case the elections are not declared, the President’s rule can be extended by another six months.

No presidential proclamation shall in any case remain in force for more than three years except for the intervention of Election Commission of India which has to certify that the continuance in force of the Proclamation is necessary on account of difficulties in holding general elections to the Legislative Assembly.

Until March 30, 1965, the state did not have a Governor or Chief Minister; it had a Sadre Riyasat (President of the State) and a Prime Minister. In 1953, months before J&K’s Constituent Assembly ratified the state’s accession to the Indian Union, then J&K Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was removed and arrested. In another blow to the state’s autonomy, New Delhi renamed the positions of Sadre Riyasat to Governor and Prime Minister to Chief Minister while Abdullah was in jail and his party was literally running a campaign for self-determination for J&K under the Plebiscite Front banner.

Governor’s rule was imposed for the first time on March 26, 1977, when the Congress withdrew support to Abdullah, the then Chief Minister. The Congress wanted to move a no-confidence motion but Abdullah recommended dissolution of the Assembly and fresh elections; then Governor L K Jha put the state under Governor’s rule. This lasted for 105 days until Abdullah was reelected.

The longest spell of central rule, from 1990, came after a insurgency started and breakdown of the state machinery led to the resignation of Chie Minister Farooq Abdullah. New Delhi sent Jagmohan as Governor again, but his iron-fist policies failed to quell the movement, and he was replaced. President’s rule was repeatedly extended until October 1996.  

 

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