The elected government of Arunachal Pradesh was martyred on the eve of the Republic Day despite having a majority. The Centre is trying to defend their move under the garb of governor’s report about the alleged deterioration of law and order situation in the State. If the governor is fearing for his life in a peace loving state like Arunachal Pradesh, I doubt what he will have to say about Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra which are table toppers in the ranking of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) crime data.
Article 355 and 356 should not be interpreted as wanton invasion by the Centre on the authority of the State government. These articles are not in the constitution to be used as tools by the central government to destabilise state governments and to further their political agenda. It was very much clear from the debates of the Constituent Assembly that the Centre will have to respect the limited autonomy of the States irrespective of whether it has been specified in the Constitution or not.
Article 356 can be imposed only when a situation arises in which the government of the State cannot be carried on as per the provisions prescribed in the constitution. In this case, the government has the majority of the House, the State is being run in a peaceful manner, yet President’s rule has been imposed. The BJP is making a desperate attempt to show its presence in the north-east and knowing their fate in Assam, the BJP made an effort to break the Congress party in Arunachal but could not form the government because of the anti-defection law. Therefore, the only political option left with them was to impose central rule.
* The author is a Supreme Court lawyer and National Media Panellist, the Indian National Congress. The views expressed by the author are personal.