In its last meeting before the general election, the Union Cabinet, on Friday, is likely to decide on whether or not to impose President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh.
The Cabinet has a heavy agenda as the government is keen to take decisions on a number issues, including draft ordinances of the pet anti-graft bills of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The government cannot take any policy decisions that would have a bearing on the election as the ‘model of code of conduct’ comes into effect once the Election Commission announces the poll schedule.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan has asked former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who resigned on February 19 and quit the Congress, to continue in a caretaker role till further arrangements are made. President’s Rule seems inevitable as neither the Congress, which has majority in the Assembly, nor any other party has staked claim to form government.
Last time new States were formed, it took the government three months — from the day of the gazette notification of the act — to fix the appointed day for creation of the States.
It will be a unique case if the Cabinet recommends Central rule in Andhra Pradesh. Since the landmarkjudgment by the Supreme Court in 1994 in S.R. Bommai versus Union of India, President’s Rule in a State has to be ratified by both Houses of Parliament within six months. Since the term of the Assembly is due to end in June, ratification by Parliament in the event of a Central rule would become infructuous.
>>In “Centre likely to take call today on President’s Rule in AP” (Feb. 28, 2014) there was a reference to the Supreme Court judgment of 2004 in S.R. Bommai versus Union of India case. The correct year is 1994.