AIR 2006 SC 980

Provisions Involved



Elections for Legislative Assemblies took place in Bihar in 2005. No party was unable to form the government. So, a notification was issued on 7th March, 2005 imposing a President’s rule in the state till a government is formed. President’s rule was to be temporary. But the Governor issued a report on 27th April,2005 in which it expressed that there is a possibility of horse trading in the state and another chance needs to be given to form a government. Another report was issued on 21st May, 2005 in which the Governor reiterated its above stand and desired that the suspended Assembly be dissolved so that a fresh chance is given to the electorate to prove their government in the Assembly. As a result of this report, the Legislative Assembly of Bihar was dissolved on 23rd May, 2005. This was challenged before the Supreme Court. 


Issues involved in this case were:

  • Is it permissible to dissolve the Legislative Assembly under Article 174(2)(b) of the Constitution of India without its first meeting?
  • Whether the proclamation is illegal?
  • What is the scope of powers under Article 361?


By its order dated 7th October,2005, Supreme Court held dissolving of the Legislative Assembly as unconstitutional but expressed its inability to restore it because of the electoral process which was under its way. Majority of the coram observed that the Governor is not vested with such wide powers and if in any case it is given to the Governor or President, consequences will be horrendous and will have far reaching alarming effects. It also observed that there was no concrete material with the Governor for taking such an extreme step.

Justice K.G. Balakrishnan have his dissenting judgement in which he said that dissolution was not malafide and a serious suspicion by the Governor that some horse trading or allurements was going to be made to MLA’s was a serious ground for dissolving the Assembly which needs to be taken into consideration by the Bench.

Justice Pasayat also agreed with K.G. Balakrishnan’s dissenting judgement. In his view. Governor cannot be a mute spectator to a government which was going to be formed by unfair means. 

Regarding the scope of powers under Article 361, it was held by the Bench that the Governor has complete immunity to exercise its powers under the said Article but such an immunity does not take away the power of the Court to examine the validity of action taken by the Governor on the ground of its being malafide.


It was held that dissolving the Legislative Assembly was unconstitutional.