Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery and its effects

IAS Mains General Studies Sample Answer

To ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution (Article 355) is a duty of the Union. So, the President is empowered to make a proclamation, when he is satisfied that the Government of a state can’t be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, either on the report of the Governor of the state or otherwise [Art 356 (i)]. The President may proclam also where any state has failed to comply with or to give effect to any directions given by the Union, in the exercise of its executive power to the state (Art. 356).

The President may by such proclamation (a) assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Executive of the state or any authority save the High court; and (b) declare that the powers of the Legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament. It can be said that by such proclamation the Union would assume control over all functions in the state administration.

It is an extraordinary power of the union to meet a political breakdown in any of the units of the federation which might affect national strength. In short, President rule is one such coercive powers at the hands of the union to maintain the democratic form of government and to prevent factional strifes from paralyzing the governmental machinery in the states.

You might also like this editorial, published on Frontline (The Hindu  By K.K. Katyal)
 Article 355 of the Constitution, one of the three important emergency provisions — and a less drastic one — has never been used by any Central Government so far. It enjoins on "the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbances and to ensure that the Government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution''. Read more..

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