New Delhi: Political parties in Maharashtra can still stake their claim to form government after the imposition of President’s rule, say Constitution experts.
The decision to impose the President’s rule came hours after state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari informed President Ram Nath Kovind that he was “satisfied that Maharashtra government cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution”.
“The President has not dissolved the Assembly yet. So, political parties in the fray can approach the Governor staking their claim on government formation”, said P.D.T. Achary, former Secretary General, Lok Sabha.
The Supreme Court in the S.R. Bommai judgement in 1994 listed the situations where the President’s rule can be imposed under Article 356.
Among other conditions laid down, there are three scenarios where a majority government is absent: no party secures a majority, that is, a hung Assembly; single largest party fails to form government and the Governor cannot find a coalition with a majority in the Assembly; when a ruling party resigns after its defeat and no other party is willing or able to form a government with a majority in the Assembly.
Achary insisted that Governor, in its discretion, saw the parties could not muster the numbers to form the government, therefore he sent the message to the President suggesting its rule in the state.
“The government in the state can be formed, if there is a challenge to the President’s rule filed in the Supreme Court”, said Achary while commenting on Shiv Sena’s petition, terming Governor’s decision arbitrary by not allowing it enough time to muster support from other parties.
The President gave his assent after the Ministry of Home Affairs sent the file on Governor’s recommendation to impose President’s rule in the state.
Subhash Kashyap, former Secretary General of Lok Sabha, said: “After the imposition of President’s rule, there are two scenarios: the President can dissolve the Legislative Assembly and call for early elections or he can keep it under suspended animation, which will allow political parties to approach the Governor to form the government”.
Kashyap said the Governor’s priority is to form the government in the state.