Over 100 people have been killed in Manipur’s ethnic conflict, which has been going on for more than a month. Clashes erupted on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in Manipur’s hill districts to oppose the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) designation.
It was reported on Friday that CM Biren Singh would resign, however, he cleared the rumors stating that he cannot leave the state in such a situation. Had he resigned, then Presidential rule would have been imposed.
Let’s delve into what would have happened if President’s rule was imposed in Manipur.
The suspension of a state government and the imposition of direct authority by the Centre is referred to as the President’s authority. The central government seizes control of the state in question, and the Governor, in this case Anusuiya Uikey, assumes constitutional authority.
Such a situation forces the Election Commission to conduct a re-election within six months. If broadly categorised, there are situations when President’s rule can be imposed:
a) during emergency,
b) a particular situation in the state (unrest for a prolonged period or riots), and
c) financial emergency.
Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives the President of India the power to impose this rule, however, only in certain conditions.
First, if the President thinks that a situation has arisen in which the state’s governance cannot continue in line with the provisions of the Constitution. Second, the state government is unable to pick a leader as chief minister within the time frame set by the state’s governor.
Third, elections were postponed due to unforeseen circumstances such as natural catastrophes, war, or epidemics. Finally, the Assembly’s majority was lost due to a vote of no-confidence in the House.
What Is The Catch?
Though the requirements for declaring an emergency are similar, the difference in Manipur is that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, has been enacted.
Significantly, Home Minister Amit Shah indicated last year that the “reduction of the disturbed area” imposed under AFSPA will begin on April 1. This announcement came after the state had been subjected to AFSPA for decades. However, it has not been totally repealed and will remain in effect in some sections of the state.
The AFSPA has been in effect in the state for decades to aid the armed forces operating there in combating insurgency. The AFSPA gives security personnel the authority to conduct operations and arrest anyone without a warrant, as well as immunity from arrest and prosecution if they kill someone.
Thus, in places where AFSPA has been enacted alongside the President’s authority, it authorizes the military forces to take action against those they believe pose a threat to the state’s peace or national security.
When Was It Imposed Last In Manipur?
The government lasted less than a year after the elections in 2000. On June 3, 2001, Manipur was placed under President’s Rule following months of upheaval, suspected horse-trading, and a vote of no-confidence. It was 277 days long.
Though CM Biren Singh has decided not to resign for now, the ethnic groups, Kuki and Meiteis have demanded for the imposition of President’s rule. In fact, the opposition parties have also demanded President’s rule to be imposed in the state that has been foiled with violent ethnic clashes since May 3.
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