Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution by Krishna Sreeja @lexcliq

Introduction:

There are some basic rights in Indian Constitution called Fundamental Rights. These rights are enshrined in the constitution of India , which are guaranteed to all citizens. They are applied to to everyone irrespective of their race, religion, gender, etc. But these rights are not absolute. They can be restricted on reasonable grounds by law made by Parliament in this regard. Even they can be suspended during the time of “Emergency”.

Emergency Provisions: 

Emergency provisions in India are borrowed from Weimar Constitution of Germany. The Indian Constitution gives President the authority to declare three types of Emergencies. They are as follows –

  1.  National Emergency
  2. State Emergency
  3. Financial Emergency

1. NATIONAL EMERGENCY:

A National Emergency modifies the federal system of Government to a unitary one. Under Article 352, the President can proclaim the emergency on the basis of 3 grounds.

1. Wars

2. External Aggression

3. Armed Rebellion (before 44th Amendment, known as Internal Disturbance)

A special majority is required to approve an National Emergency resolution. The approval shall be done within one month and that approval is valid only for 6 months at a time and again it can be extended for another 6 months.  During the time of Emergency, the executive, financial and legislative powers rest with the center. Except Article 20 and 21, all the fundamental rights of the citizens shall be suspended.

Until now, National Emergency has been imposed 3 times in India.

  • In 1968, for the first time Emergency was declared in India and this lasted till 1968.  This emergency was imposed because, during the India – China war, the security of India was declared as being “threatened by external aggression”
  • The second instance is in 1971. In 1971, when Pakistan tried to occupy the territory of Bangladesh, India engaged in war with Pakistan. This lead to the Liberation of Bangladesh. On the grounds of war, 2nd Emergency was declared.
  • In 1975, through 38th Constitutional Amendment Act, empowered the President to proclaim National Emergency on different grounds even though an emergency is already under operation. Through this provision, the 3rd National Emergency was proclaimed in 1975 on the grounds of Internal Disturbance. This emergency was imposed in the middle of second emergency.

But, as of many peoples’ opinion, the actual intention behind imposing the third emergency was to secure the position of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s position.

Anyways, both second and third emergencies were revoked in 1977.

Later, in 1978, 44th Constitutional Amendment act was enacted to prevent the misuse of emergency power by the Executive. Also, the term ‘Internal Disturbance’ was replaced by ‘Armed Rebellion’.

2. STATE EMERGENCY:

This is popularly known as President’s Rule. Under Article 356, a state of emergency can be declared in any state of India on the recommendations of the governor of the state. The grounds for proclamation of President’s rule is breakdown of Constitutional Machinery. This means the formation of government is not possible because of lack of majority, etc..

To declare the President’s rule, the approval of Simple Majority within 2 months is required and the approval is valid for 6 months at a time and can be extended to 6 months but it can’t last more than 3 years. The year period includes 1 ordinary year and 2 years extra ordinary period for which certain conditions are to be fulfilled.

Till now, every Indian state, except Chhattisgarh and Telangana has been under a state of emergency at some point of time or other. 

3. FINANCIAL EMERGENCY:

Under Article 360, the President can proclaim Financial Emergency, if he/she satisfied that a situation of financial stability of India or in any territory of India are threatened then he can impose the Financial Emergency. During this period, the salaries and allowances of the public official s including Judges get decreased. To impose Financial Emergency, an approval simple majority by Parliament with in 2 months and this emergency automatically comes to an end with the end of Financial year (by March 31st)

Till now, Financial Emergency has been never imposed in India.

 

 

 

 

 

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