Article 355 of the Constitution of India

Naorem Umakanta Singh (Advocate)
Contd from previous issue
The report is by a person who has held the high and responsible position of Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and is very well equipped to recognize the potential danger or threat to the security of the nation by the unabated influx and continued presence of Bangladeshi nationals in India. Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populous countries having very few industries.
The economic prospects of the people in that country being extremely grim, they are too keen to cross over the border and occupy the land wherever it is possible to do so. The report of the Governor, the affidavits and other material on record show that millions of Bangladeshi nationals have illegally crossed the international border and have occupied vast tracts of land like “Char land” barren or cultivable land, forest area and have taken possession of the same in the State of Assam. Their willingness to work at low wages has deprived Indian citizens and specially people in Assam of employment opportunities. This, as stated in the Governor’s report, has led to insurgency in Assam. Insurgency is undoubtedly a serious form of internal disturbance which causes grave threat to the life of people, creates panic situations and also hampers the growth and economic prosperity of the State of Assam though it possesses vast natural resources.
63. This being the situation there can be no manner of doubt that the State of Assam is facing “external aggression and internal disturbance” on account of large scale illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals. It, therefore, becomes the duty of the Union of India to take all measures for protection of the State of Assam from such external aggression and internal disturbance as enjoined in Article 355 of the Constitution. Having regard to this constitutional mandate, the question arises whether the Union of India has taken any measures for that purpose.”
Whether the present situation in Manipur, since 3rd May 2023, will also come under one of the exemplified situations as given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for invocation and imposition of Article 355 is for the relevant competent Authority to assess, decide and act.
However, there can be no doubt that Manipur is facing an unprecedented situation where the Governance of the State in accordance with the Constitution is under open challenge and threat. But is the present unprecedented situation in Manipur still falling short of imposing Article 355 or whether some of the interventions or assistance by the Union Government since 3rd May 2023 amounts to invocation of Article 355? The answer lies with the relevant competent authority.
However, some of the interventions and actions of the Union Government since 3rd May 2023 seems to indicate that Article 355 is in operation in the State of Manipur but in the absence of a formal declaration or a speaking order/clarification from the competent authority, the speculation as to whether Article 355 of the Constitution of India is imposed in the State of Manipur or not will remain amongst the people.