Article 356 (President’s Rule): When a state government fails to function in accordance with the Constitution, the Union government can assume direct control of the state machinery.

Data: Historical use of Article 356:

According to an RTI response from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), President’s rule was imposed 115 times until 2016.

From 1971 to 1990, it was invoked 63 times.

Between 1991 and 2010, it was used 27 times.

Between 2011 and 2016, it was employed 5 times.

Main Body:

Legal Factors:

S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India (1994):

  • Landmark Supreme Court judgment that extensively discussed Article 356 provisions.

Judicial Activism:

  • The judiciary plays a crucial role in interpreting and ensuring the correct application of Article 356.

Judicial Review based on:

  • Existence of valid grounds for imposing President’s Rule.
  • Relevance of the material considered.
  • Preventing the mala fide use of power.

Inter-State Council (ISC):

  • Established as a permanent body under Article 263 based on the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.

Rameshwar Prasad vs. Union of India (2006):

  • Court declared the President’s Proclamation of dissolving the state Assembly unconstitutional.

Political Factors:

Rise of Regional Parties:

  • The emergence of regional parties in the mid-1990s introduced an opportunistic and volatile character to Indian politics.
  • National parties became cautious about using Article 356 against their own governments.

Political Decentralization:

  • 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments (1992) empowered Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Shift towards Cooperative and Collaborative Federalism:

  • The evolving trend of states and the central government working together for common goals.

Responsible Role of President and Governors:

  • Instances like President Narayanan’s judicious handling of constitutional matters.

Increased Media Scrutiny and Public Opinion:

  • The growing role of social media and the press in shaping public opinion and influencing government decisions.


The concept of cooperative and collaborative federalism is of paramount importance in the Indian context.
The data indicates a downward trend in the use of Article 356, signifying a growing commitment to federal principles and a reluctance to resort to direct central control.


The declining use of Article 356, as indicated by the data, reflects a positive shift towards cooperative and collaborative federalism in India, wherein the central and state governments work together for the betterment of the nation. This transition reflects the evolving spirit of democracy and the maturation of federal governance in the country.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish November 1, 2023