Bench: Kuldeep Singh, P.B. Sawant , Katikithala, Ramaswami, S.C. Agarwal , Yogeshwar Dayal, B P Jeevan Reddy , S R Pandian A M Ahmed , J S Verma.

Judgment:  Appeal is allowed in favour of S.R.Bommai.

  • This was an appeal before the Supreme Court.
  • Some relevant fact that, in 1989, the janta govt. headed by Sri. Bommai in Karnataka due to defection by some member, the question on majority of govt. was asoused in legislative assembly of karnataka S.R. Bommai (CM) advised the governor to call upon the session of assembly for the floor test. But the governor reported to the president that S.R. Bommai lost the majority support in hours and there s no other government formed by other parties. So the president advised by the governor to issue proclamation under act 356(1) of constitution.

S R Bommai challenges this in high court.

  • Decision of HC: the court ruled that the floor test is not obligatory and not a pre-requisite before sending the report to president for issue proclamation isn’t outside the preview of court if such act is mala fide or based on irrelevant grounds. But in this case, the report is not being held to be relevant, governor’s bonafide can’t be questioned and his satisfaction is based on reasonable assessment.

S.R Bommai assigned by an order of HC filed an appeal and supreme court. Hence, this appeal was filed.

Some other petitions are also pending before the HC on the proclamation under act 356(1) in different states. All these petition were transfered to Supreme Court for healing.

Issue framed: Constitutional validity of proclamation under 356(1)?

Under section 356(1) of the constitution if the president is satisfied on the report of governor or otherwise that to carry the government in the state according to constitution is not possible. The president can proclaimed emergency on the basis of failure of constitutional machinery.

  • The president exercise his power under act 356(1) on advice of counsel of minister
  • Council of minister in reality exercising the power under article 356.
  • The CM has lost the majority support in assembly has to decided on the floor of the house not in the chamber of governor.

HC of Karnataka was wrong in holding that the floor test is not mandatory

  • The governor should explore the possibility of installing alternative government
  • The validity of proclamation is justifiable on the ground that the proclamation was issued in malafide exercise of power or irrelevant grounds.
  • The material before the president should be such as would induce a seasonable man to come to the conclusion in question. Because the president satisfaction is based on such material.
  • If such material is unseasonable then the proclamation is open to challenge.
  • Article 356 confesses upon the president conditioned power. That the president satisfaction must be based on material which is seasonable given by the government.
  • Article 356(3) are intended to keep a check on the power of president under act 356,proclamation is automatically lapse, if it is not passed by houses in 2 months.
  • Only after the approval of proclaim by parliament state assembly can’t be dissolved.
  • After 2 months, it will lapse after 6 months.
  • Act 74(2) base an inquiry into the ques. Whether any or what advice was tendered by COM to president but it doesn’t ban the examination of material on which satisfaction is based.

Decision of Supreme Court is by majority is declared that the proclamation was unconstitutional in Karnataka. After Bommai case it’s became difficult to invoke article 356 easily. It completely repealed the ban on judicial review of article 356. And by 44 constitutional amendment act new provision added in article 356(5) which inserted two conditions and made difficult to invoke 356. Governor can act in his discretionary power but he is not allowed to act contrary to the constitution.

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