Article 355 imposes a duty on the Centre to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. It is this duty in the performance of which the Centre takes over the government of a state under Article 356 in case of failure of constitutional machinery in state. This is popularly known as ‘President’s Rule’. It is also known as ‘State Emergency’ or ‘Constitutional Emergency’.
The President’s Rule can be proclaimed under Article 356 on two grounds —one mentioned in Article 356 itself and another in Article 365:
A proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue. However, if the proclamation of President’s Rule is issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of two months without approving the proclamation, then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha approves it in the mean time.
If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the President’s Rule continues for six months. It can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months. However, if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of six months without approving the further continuation of the President’s Rule, then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha has in the meantime approved its continuance.
Every resolution approving the proclamation of President’s Rule or its continuation can be passed by either House of Parliament only by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of that House present and voting.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put restraint on the power of Parliament to extend a proclamation of President’s Rule beyond one year. Thus, it provided that, beyond one year, the President’s Rule can be extended by six months at a time only when the following two conditions are fulfilled: