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Article 356: States want more safeguards

By Onkar Singh in Srinagar
Last updated on: August 28, 2003 15:18 IST
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The States have given up their demand for repeal of Article 356 of the Constitution, which provides for imposition of President's rule, but insist on greater safeguards to prevent its misuse.

The states have accepted most of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State relations, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani told a press conference on Thursday at the end of the two-day Inter-State Council meet in Srinagar.

"It has been decided that Article 356 would be used as the last resort. Under Articles 256 and 257, the Union government can issue directives to erring states if the Constitution is being violated.

"If despite the advice, the Constitution is being still violated, the Centre could use Article 356.

"The Union government would have nothing to do with the developments in the State. It would be left to the governor to give his verdict after considering all aspects. He would have to give reasons why President's rule needs to be imposed," Advani said.

He said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has directed that a sub-committee be formed to prepare a blue print on good governance, which would be the core issue to be discussed at the ninth meeting of the Inter-State Council.

Talking about Wednesday night's attack on BSNL office in Srinagar, he said such incidents impede the process of dialogue, which Prime Minister Vajpayee had initiated during his last visit to Jammu and Kashmir in April this year.

More reports from Jammu and Kashmir

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Onkar Singh in Srinagar