On 25th February, 2021 the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification whereby President's Rule was imposed in Puducherry. State emergency under Article 356 was declared after the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind was satisfied with the report of the Administrator of Puducherry. The report read that a situation had arisen in the Union Territory of Puducherry whereby administration could not be carried on according to the Government of Union Territories Act of 1963 (20 of 1963).
Puducherry: a Union Territory with a Legislative Assembly
The 14th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1962 bestowed upon Puducherry the status of partial statehood similar to Delhi with an elected Legislative Assembly, a Cabinet of Ministers and a Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head.
Collapse of the Puducherry Government
The Union Territory was placed under President's rule after one Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and five Congress MLAs quit the V. Narayanasamy government. The Congress-led government collapsed on the grounds of a vote of no-confidence. Because of the resignations, in the 33-member assembly, the ruling Congress-DMK alliance's strength fell to 11 in comparison to the opposition's 14.
Imposition of President’s Rule
Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar noted that President’s rule was imposed when the Chief Minister of Puducherry resigned and no other party claimed to form the government. Subsequently, the Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan recommended the suspension of the 14th Assembly. The Union Cabinet also recommended the imposition of President’s rule in the Union Territory.
Under section 51 of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 (20 of 1963) the notification suspended the legislative and executive operations of the Union Territory and thus effectively imposed a State Emergency.
Based on the provisions in the Constitution, the emergency can be revoked by a proclamation by the President or it may last for six months at a time that may be extended till three years. According to the notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the suspended animation of the Puducherry Assembly will continue till its current term. As soon as the Election Commission will announce the date of elections in Puducherry, the Model Code of Conduct will be sent across and the new assembly will come into being.
The race for votes never ends.
Although stake was not claimed by BJP and its allies in Puducherry, two out of the five Congress MLAs who quit switched over to BJP and it is expected that more will follow.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi had visited the Union Territory on 25th February to announce various central schemes. At the rally in Puducherry, the PM accused the Congress party and noted that the leaders of the Union Territory had not cooperated well with the centre in utilizing funds and implementing the schemes. He also said that Puducherry did not deserve a "high command" government with the agenda of serving Delhi based Congress leaders and that if National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is voted to power, it would treat the citizens as the high command.
This article has been written by Ruchira Sharma for The Paradigm
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