Emergency In Indian Constitution – Indian Polity Notes -Emergency In Indian Constitution – Indian Polity Notes

Emergency provisions in India  =Emergency provisions are adopted in India from Weimar Constitution of Germany. In Indian constitution there are three kind of emergency provisions:

  1. Article 352 – National Emergency
  2. Article 356 – President’s Rule
  3. Article 360 – Financial Emergency

1- National Emergency (Article 352)

  • If the President is satisfied that there exist a grave emergency whether due to war or external aggression or armed rebellion, then President can proclaim emergency to that effect. Such a  proclamation can be made for the whole of India or any part thereof.
  • The President can proclaim National Emergency only on the written advice of the Cabinet.
  • The President has power to revoke or modify the National Emergency.
  • All such proclamations of Emergency shall have to be sent to Parliament for approval and it ceases to be operational if not approved within 1 month of the proclamation of Emergency.
  • Such approval by Parliament is to be on the basis of Special Majority of not less than 2/3rd of members present and voting and the majority of the House.
  • Emergency shall be imposed for not more than 6 months from the date of approval.
  • At the expiry of 6 months it ceases unless approved by Parliament again.
  • If Lok Sabha is dissolved then proclamation of Emergency, it must be approved by the Rajya Sabha within 1 month and reconstituted Lok Sabha must approve within 1 month of its reconstitution.
  • Lok Sabha enjoys powers to disapprove continuation of Emergency at any stage.
  • In such case if not less than 1/10th of members (55) of Lok Sabha give in writing to the Speaker if Lok Sabha is in session or to the President if Lok Sabha is not in the session, expressing intention to more resolution for the disapproval of National Emergency.
  • Then special session of Lok Sabha shall be convened within 14 days. If Lok Sabha disapproves continuance of National Emergency then President shall have to revoke National Emergency.

Consequences of National Emergency=Emergency In Indian Constitution

  1. The Parliament gets power to make laws in relation to the State List.
  2. The Union government is empowered to give directions to the state in executive matters.
  3. The right to freedom under Art. 19 are automatically suspended.
  4. The right of Citizen to seek constitutional remedy under Art. 32 are abridged; it may be suspended.
  5. The Union Government may suspend all other fundamental rights except Art. 20 and Art. 21.
  6. The division of sources of revenue between the centre and states may be modified. Use of Emergency Powers.
  • For the first time in independent India, National Emergency was imposed on 26 October 1962 in view of the Chinese aggression against India.
  • It was lifted on 10 January 1968.
  • Another National Emergency was declared on 3 December 1971, the day on which Pakistan launched a war against India.
  • Pakistan attacked India because of its support to the liberation of Bangladesh.
  • This emergency was still in operation when the country was put under the third National Emergency in June 1975.
  • The third National Emergency was imposed by the Indira Gandhi government after Mrs. Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha was declared null and void by the Allahabad High Court, The government declared National Emergency on the ground of ‘internal disturbance’ on 25 June 1975 which was revoked on 21 March 1977.

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2-Emergency in States on President’s Rule (Article 356)

  • Under Article 356 the President can promulgate the failure of constitutional machinery in a state if he is satisfied either on the basis of a report from the Governor of that State or otherwise that the government of that state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
  • He can also issue such a proclamation if a state has failed to carry out a direction of the Union Government given by it in exercise of its executive power to the state.
  • Every proclamation made under Article 356 ceases to be in operation unless approved by both Houses of the Parliament within 2 months after its proclamation.
  • Once, approved by Parliament, Emergency shall be enforced for not more than 6 months from the date of proclamation by the President.
  • Such an approval by the Parliament needs only simple Majority.
  • If Lok Sabha stands dissolved then Rajya Sabha shall have to approve it within 2 months and Lok Sabha shall approve it within 1 month of its reconstitution.
  • However, Parliament can extend it for a further period of 6 months only.

If it has to approve beyond 1 year then two conditions shall have to be satisfied.

  • There shall be National Emergency in force either in whole of the State concerned on in part thereof. Election Commission is satisfied that under prevailing conditions general election to State Legislative Assembly of the State concerned cannot be held.
  • But under no circumstances, State Emergency cannot be extended beyond 3 years.
  • To extend it further, constitutional amendment is required.

It is important to note that the President can declare ‘State Emergency’ or President’s Rule either on the basis of a report of the Governor or otherwise that the constitutional machinery of that state has failed. Thus, at times, the President may declare State Emergency even when he has not received a report from the state Governor saying that the constitutional machinery of that state has failed.

  • In 1991, President Venkatraman declared State Emergency in Tamil Nadu even though he had not received a report from the Governor S. B. Barnala recommending this.
  • Under the 42nd Amendment of 1976, the presidential promulgation of State Emergency became immune from judicial review.
  • In other words, it could not be challenged in the court of law.
  • But this was nullified by the 44th Amendment of 1978. According to this amendment, the legality of the proclamation of President’s Rule can be challenged.

Consequences of the Proclamation of State Emergency

  1. During state Emergency, the President of India assumes all executive power of the state to himself. The state administration is run directly by him or through a person designated for the purpose by him. It is the Governor of state who runs the state administration on behalf of the President.
  2. During the President’s Rule, the state assembly is either dissolved or kept under suspended suspension. The state assembly is kept under suspended animation if there is hope that a new council of ministers can be formed within a short time. During this period, the MLAs do not lose their membership of the Assembly, nor is there election held to the assembly. Therefore some scholars have described state Emergency as ‘Half Emergency.’
  3. The Parliament makes laws an all items included in the state list. It also passes the state budget. However, if the Lok Sabha is not in session, the President may authorize any expenditure from the consolidated fund of India.
  4. During the State Emergency, the High Court of the state, as before, functions independently without any of its powers being curtailed.
  5. The president has also power to proclaim ordinances in the state

During State Emergency the Union Government assumes absolute control over state administration except the judiciary

Dr. Ambedkar, the Father of Indian Constitution, observed, Art 356 is not an ordinary law, and this cannot be enforced arbitrarily and whimsically. This may be used as the last weapon, he said. But this has already been used more than 100 times.

After the Lok Sabha elections held in March 1977 which brought Janata Party to power at the centre, the President’s Rule was imposed on 30th April 1977 in nine states which had Congress governments. Similarly, following the Seventh Lok Sabha election held in 1980, the President’s Rule was imposed in nine states which had non-Congress governments.

In December 1992, the President’s Rule was imposed by the Narasimha Rao government in four states, namely, the U.P, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, which had BJP governments.

These BJP governments were punished after the destruction of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya on 6th December 1992.

While the Madhya Pradesh High Court, in its judgement, said that the imposition of President’s Rule in Madhya Pradesh was illegal, this judgement was reversed by the Supreme Court in April 1994 which upheld the legality of the President’s Rule in four Indian states in December 1992.

3-Financial Emergency=Emergency In Indian Constitution

Under Article 360, the President of India can proclaim Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that the financial stability or the credit of India or of any part of its territory is threatened. The effects of financial emergency are:

  1. The Union Executive will have authority to give directions to any state to observe cannons of financial propriety.
  2. The President may issue directions requiring reducing the salary and allowance of all or any class of persons serving in the Union or State Government including the Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  3. The money bills, duly passed by state legislatures, may be reserved for the consideration of the President.
  4. The allocation of revenue between the centre and the state may be altered by the President.

The proclamation of Financial Emergency shall ordinarily remain in force for a period of two months. However, it can continue to stay beyond two months if before the expiry of the two-month period, the proclamation has been approved by the both Houses of Parliament.

Emergency In Indian Constitution – Effects of Financial Emergency

  1. President is empowered to suspend the distribution of financial resources with States.
  2. President can issue directions to States to follow canons of financial propriety.
  3. He can direct State Govt. to decrease salaries allowances of Civil Servants and other Constitutional dignitaries.
  4. President can direct the Govt. to resume all the financial and Money Bills passed by legislature for his consideration. The President can issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

Note -The National Emergency and Financial Emergency have no time limit. They can continue to be extended without any limit. But the State Emergency has a time-limit. It cannot go beyond three years.

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