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President’s rule imposed in Uttarakhand

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Uttarakhand: With reports of Uttarakhand assembly Speaker Govind Kunjwal disqualifying nine rebel Congress MLAs emerged on Saturday night, President Pranab Mukherjee dismissed the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat and placed the assembly under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.

The imposition of President’s rule in the state has brought the focus back on Article 356 of the Constitution – used and misused for decades by successive governments irrespective of their political ideology.

According to Article 356, President’s rule can be imposed in a state if a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Breakdown of constitutional machinery

The expression “breakdown of constitutional machinery” has not been defined in the Constitution. It can happen due to political reasons such as hung assembly, the government losing majority in the assembly, failure of any political grouping to form a government, defections and break-up of coalition or because of insurgency etc. Whatever may be the reason, the President has to be satisfied about of breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.

Governor’s report or otherwise

Generally, the governor sends a report in this regard to the Centre and it’s his/her report that forms the basis for the Union Cabinet’s recommendation to the President for invoking Article 356 to impose President’s rule.

However, the provision also says that the President can take such a decision even “otherwise” (i.e. even in the absence of governor’s report). But in any case, the President has to be satisfied that the constitutional machinery has broken down in the state.

Governor’s discretion

While sending a report to the Centre, the governor is not supposed to go by the advice of the state cabinet and is exercises his or her own discretion. On the contrary, the President has to go by the advice of the Union Cabinet. But he can seek clarifications from the council of ministers.

Implications of President’s rule

Once President’s rule is imposed, the assembly ceases to function and the state comes under the Central government’s direct control. The assembly is generally kept in suspended animation. The powers of the state assembly become exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament. The executive power shifts from the council of ministers to the governor.

Once imposed, President’s rule must be approved by Parliament within a period of two months. It can’t last for more than six months unless its extension is approved by Parliament.

SR Bommai case

In the SR Bommai case, the Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that courts can’t question the Union Cabinet’s advice to the President but they can question the material behind the satisfaction of the President regarding breakdown of constitutional machinery. It also said that the use of Article 356 was justified only when there was a breakdown of constitutional machinery and not that of administrative machinery.

Bihar assembly dissolution case

The Supreme Court in January 2006 declared the dissolution of the Bihar assembly as null and void in the Buta Singh case. It held that the governor’s report could not be taken at face value and must be verified by the council of ministers before being used as the basis for imposing President’s rule. The “drastic and extreme action under Article 356” cannot be justified on whims and fancies of the governor and the council of ministers should not accept it as “gospel truth”.

Credits: HT

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Indian President Launches Pulse Polio Programme for 2019

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free

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Polio
A health worker gives polio vaccine to a girl in Lahore, Pakistan. VOA

President Ram Nath Kovind, here on Saturday, launched the 2019 pulse polio programme by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rahstrapati Bhawan.

The launch was organised on the eve of the National Immunisation Day, which will be observed on Sunday.

“Over 17 crore children below five years will be administered polio drops as part of the government drive to support polio eradication programme,” said a release.

Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, also present on the occasion, said the Universal Immunisation Programme was focusing on protecting children from diseases and has introduced several new vaccines, like pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine.

“To provide additional protection to the children, the government has also introduced the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the routine immunisation programme,” Nadda said.

Polio, afghanistan
A boy receives polio vaccination drops during an anti-polio campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

Pointing out that the government was making all efforts to protect children from diseases, he said the vaccines under the programme must reach the last child of the country.

“Along with the Universal Immunisation Programme, we have also launched the Mission Indradhanush to achieve more than 90 per cent immunisation coverage. Over 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through the Mission Indradhanush drives,” Nadda said.

Strengthening of the immunisation programme has contributed to the decline of infant mortality from 39 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 32 in 2017, he added.

Also Read- Researchers Identify Key Gene Behind Breast Cancer

Nadda also appreciated the efforts of state governments and supporting organisations, like the WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, for strengthening the polio programme as well as other immunisation initiatives.

He applauded the efforts of thousands of volunteers, frontline workers and health officials for tireless work for keeping the country polio-free. (IANS)