Article 324 Current Affairs - 2020

ECI to conduct biennial election to Maharashtra Legislative Council

On May 1, 2020, the Election Commission of India announced that it is to conduct biennial election for 9 vacant seats for the members of Legislative Council of the Maharashtra State Legislature.

Highlights

On April 24, 2020, 9 seats became vacant in the Maharashtra Legislative Council. Hence, the Election Commission of India has issued orders to conduct elections under Article 324.

Article 324

The article superintendents and provides directions to the election Commission. The article gives powers to the election commission of India to conduct parliamentary and state legislature elections.

Under the article, the commission shall consist of a Chief Election Commissioner and other commissioners if in need and may be appointed by the President from time to time.

The article empowers the President to appoint regional commissioners in consultation with the chief election commissioner.

Legislative Council

The Legislative Council is the upper house in a state legislature and is established under Article 169. Every member of the legislative council serves for 6 years. Hence, the terms of one-third of the state legislative council members expire every two years.

After bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, today, 6 out of 28 states have State Legislative Council.

Article 169

The article provides power to abolish or create legislative councils in the state.

Cabinet approves Governor’s Rule in J&K for another 6 months

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the extension of President’s rule under article 356(4) of Indian Constitution, in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for a period of 6 more months, beginning from 3 July 2019. The decision was based on prevailing situation in state as stated in report of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik.

The present term of President’s Rule is expiring on 2 July 2019 but as recommended by J&K Governor, the President Rule in State may be extended for a further period of six months with effect from 3 July 2019 if it gets parliamentary approval.

Implementation: A resolution seeking approval of parliament for extending President’s Rule in J&K will be moved in both houses of parliament during the upcoming session.

Background

J&K was placed under Governor’s Rule after Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) pulled out of coalition government with J&K’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in June 2018. This Governor’s Rule was proclaimed under Section 92 of Constitution of J&K with concurrence of President of India.

It had resulted in Governor assuming to himself functions of Government as well as Legislature of J&K. During this time, State Assembly was initially suspended due to breaking of coalition government and was later dissolved by Governor in November 2018.

The President’s Rule under Article 356 of Indian Constitution was imposed in J&K after Governor’s rule imposed in June 2018 had ceased after six months period in December 2018.  It was imposed because under Section 92 of J&K Constitution, there is no provision for further continuation of such Proclamation after six months period. Later, resolution imposing President rules in J&K was approved by Parliament, (separately by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha).

Way Forward

The Election Commission of India (ECI) stated that under Article 324 of Indian Constitution and other extant laws/rules etc. it took unanimous decision of holding of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections later in this year. The EC now confirmed that election schedule for state will be announced after the conclusion of Amarnath Yatra in August 2019. The Commission will also keep regular and real-time monitoring of situation in J&K as well as taking inputs from all necessary quarters for successful conduction of election.

About President’s Rule

Article 356 of constitution of India empowers President to issue a proclamation of Present’s Rule (or State Emergency), if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with provisions of Constitution. Thus, President’s rule is also called Constitutional Emergency as it deals with failure of constitutional machinery in State. The President can act in accordance with or without the report of Governor of state.

President’s Rule in a state can continue for a period of 6 months at a time and after this period it can be extended for another term with approval of both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) but for a maximum period of 3 years.