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Indian Polity / Union Executive

Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution


    There are three types of emergency provisions in Indian Constitution namely, National Emergency, Constitutional Emergency (President's Rule) and Financial Emergency. Emergency means occurrence of a kind of situation or condition whereby the unity, integrity, security and territorial sovereignty of India is in danger.

    National Emergency in India

    • According to Article 352, National emergency can be proclaimed on two grounds namely, internal and external reasons. Originally, internal emergency can be proclaimed on the reasons of internal disturbance. However, in the year 1978, the 44th Constitutional Amendment substituted 'internal disturbance' with the word 'Armed rebellion'. Emergency on external grounds is based on war, attack or aggression by another country.
    • President proclaims Emergency on the written advice of the Cabinet. Such proclamation will be in operation up to one month. Meanwhile, both the Houses of the Parliament have to separately approve such a proclamation within 1 month with special majority. Once it is approved by the Parliament within 30 days, the emergency is extended upto 6 months from the time from the date of approval. If Parliament is not in session, the President must have to convene a special session.
    • Emergency can be extended to any number of years or instances provided every extension should be not beyond 6 months. Parliament has to approve every subsequent extension. It ceases to exist if Parliament does not approve further.
    • The President of India may revoke the emergency at any time with subsequent proclamation on the advice of the Cabinet. However in 1978 by 44th amendment, Parliament especially Lok Sabha is empowered to assist in revoking the emergency. If Lok Sabha approves a resolution with simple majority, basing on this resolution, President revokes emergency. In case Lok Sabha is not in session, 1/10th of the total members of Lok Sabha have to give a notice to the President to summon a special session of the Lok Sabha within 14 days, in order to approve such Resolution.
    • In case when emergency is getting proclaimed, if Lok Sabha is already dissolved or dissolution of Lok Sabha takes place during the proclamation of emergency and in such a situation, approval by the Rajya Sabha is valid provided new Lok Sabha approves such proclamation within 30 days from its first meeting.

    Constitutional Emergency in India

    • Article 355 says it is the responsibility of the Union Government to protect the states from internal disturbance and external aggression.
    • Article 356 says if a situation has arisen in a state in which there is break down of Constitutional Machinery or governance of the state cannot be carried out carried out the Constitution and after receiving the report of the governor, the President can proclaim President's Rule in the state on the advice of the Council of Ministers led by Prime Minister. However the report of the Governor is not a necessary condition to impose President's Rule.
    • Such proclamation made by the President of India should be approved by the Parliament within 2 month with simple majority. The proclamation will be in force for a period of 6 months. President's rule can not be extended beyond 1 year. However, President's Rule can be extended to the maximum of 3 years provided any of following conditions exists (i) If National Emergency is already proclaimed in the state or, (ii) If the Election Commission of India certifies that elections can not be conducted in a free and fair manner in the given situation.

    Financial Emergency in India

    • Article 360 says if there is an imminent threat or danger to the financial credibility of India either externally or internally, that situation can be assumed for the imposition of Financial Emergency. President of India declares such Emergency with the advice of the Council of Ministers led by Prime Minister.
    • Financial Emergency proclamation must be approved by the Parliament of India within 2 months, with simple majority. Once it is approved, Emergency will be continued as long as it is revoked subsequently. No periodical extension is required unlike other Emergencies. Lok sabha has the same power in case of Financial Emergency very much similar to National Emergency according to the 44th Amendment.

    Effects of National Emergency

    • The executive jurisdiction of the Central Government is extended into the state list. That is Central Government can give orders or directions during such time. All the Executive, Legislative and Financial powers of the State Governments are curtailed.
    • By enacting a law in the Parliament, the normal tenure of the Lok Sabha may be extended up to one year at a time. Like that any number of extensions can be done. Similarly, the normal tenure of the State Assembly can be extended up to one year at a time by the Parliament and like that any number of extensions can be done. Whatever the case may be, Parliament of India extends normal tenures.
    • Impact on fundamental rights -
      • When Emergency is imposed on external grounds, the impact is explained in Article 358. When Emergency is imposed on internal grounds, the impact is explained in Article 359.
      • If Emergency is imposed on external grounds, fundamental rights mentioned in Article 19 are automatically suspended. Their suspension is continued as long the Emergency continues. In case of internal grounds, prior to the 44th Amendment in 1978, all fundamental rights used to get suspended, however by this Amendment, Articles 20 and 21 are exempted from suspension. For suspension of fundamental rights on internal grounds, President of India has to issue a separate order apart from proclamation to suspend all, some or such but never Articles 20 and 21. There will not be any automatic suspension of fundamental rights. The suspension may continue as long as the President thinks necessary and not to the entire duration of Emergency.
    • So far, Emergency has been imposed 3 times, first time in 1962 on external grounds of Chinese aggression on Arunachal Pradesh from Oct 26, 1962 to 10th Jan, 1968 and for the second time from 3rd Dec, 1971 to 21st March, 1977 ( both external grounds ) and on internal grounds from 25th June, 1975 to 21st March, 1977.

    Effects of Constitutional Emergency

    • The State government will be dismissed in this case. That means the Chief Minister along with Council of Ministers will be ousted.
    • The State Assembly may be dissolved or it can be kept under suspended animation, which is nothing but temporary suspension. All the Executive, Administrative and Legislative powers of the State are being assumed by the President. He runs the administration through Governor by appointing some advisors to the Governor.
    • President makes laws in the form of ordinances which the Parliament has to approve. The state budget will be approved by the Parliament.
    • The state which was imposed President's Rule for the first time is Punjab in 1951.

    Effects of Financial Emergency

    • All the financial relations between the Centre and states are terminated.
    • States have to present their budget, money bills and finance bills for the approval of the Central Government.
    • Salaries of all persons serving under Indian Union including the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts will be diminished or reduced. President of India reduces the salaries of all persons. So far, Article 360 is not imposed. Vice President's salary reduction is not mentioned in the Constitution clearly.