The Centre has reportedly recommended the imposition of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir once the Governor’s six-month rule ends on December 19.
The decision was taken after Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik sent a report to the central government recommending the imposition of President’s rule in the state, officials said on Monday, as per a PTI report.
Citing officials aware of developments, PTI reported that the Union cabinet has cleared the proposal to impose President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir from December 19.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s rule since the BJP pulled out of the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP alliance in June. The state was placed under Governor’s rule for the first time in 1977 with Satya Pal Malik’s being the ninth governor to take the reins.
What has been decided?
A communication from Governor Satya Pal Malik’s office was sent to the Union Home Ministry, which then moved the union cabinet with the proposal for its nod. President Ram Nath Kovind has to now issue a proclamation declaring that the powers of the Legislature of the state shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament, an official told PTI.
Since Jammu and Kashmir has a separate Constitution, in such cases, six months of governor’s rule is mandatory under Article 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution—this means that all the legislature powers are vested with the governor.
Government officials told the Indian Express that they will soon seek approval from the Union cabinet for President’s rule in the Valley and that the approval will have to be ratified by Parliament.
The ratification has to be done by both Houses of Parliament within two months of imposition of President’s rule. Once both Houses give their approval, the President’s rule will be valid for six months.
“As long as President’s rule is in effect, Parliament makes laws on the 61 subjects on the state list,” an official said, as per the Indian Express report. The money bills of the state are also approved by Parliament during this time.
Jammu and Kashmir assembly dissolved
Just last month, citing the “impossibility of forming a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies” and the “fragile security scenario in the state… where there is a need to have a stable and supportive environment for security forces”, Governor Satya Pal Malik dissolved the state Assembly.
Malik made the decision shortly after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of the National Conference and Congress. Mufti cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the 87-member House.
A separate claim to form government was also made by Sajad Gani Lone of the two-member People’s Conference who claimed support of the BJP and 18 MLAs from other parties. He sent a letter while he was flying home from London.
The governor’s office said he dissolved the assembly because any government was unlikely to last long. “The coming together of such parties in a grouping is nothing but an attempt to gain power rather than to form a responsive government,” the office said in a release. The office also cited reports of “horse-trading and possible exchange of money” to get the support of legislators.
Mufti told a local news agency that the BJP, her former coalition partner, had failed in Kashmir and was now creating defections in other parties to fulfill its political motives. Mufti’s government collapsedin June after the BJP withdrew its support.
What has happened in the past?
Jammu and Kashmir saw Governor’s rule imposed for the first time on March 26, 1977, when the Congress withdrew its support to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the then-Chief Minister.
The Congress wanted to move a no-confidence motion. However, Abdullah recommended dissolution of the Assembly and called for fresh elections. Then Governor L.K. Jha placed Jammu and Kashmir under Governor’srule, which lasted for 105 days until Abdullah was reelected.
The longest spell of President’s rule, during the 1990s came after a separatist movement and breakdown of the state machinery led to the resignation of chief minister Farooq Abdullah. New Delhi appointed Jagmohan as Governor again, but his iron-fist policies failed to put an end to the movement, and he was replaced.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius