Polity : Emergency Provisions in the Constitution of India

Part 18 (352 - 360) of Indian constitution deals with various emergency provisions. Three types of emergencies are envisaged in the Constitution of India

National Emergency
  • Under Article 352, President of India can make proclamation of emergency in case the security of India or any part of the territory is threatened by war, external aggression or armed rebellion. The President has the power to declare an emergency even if there is a chance (before the actual occurrence) for any of the above mentioned cases. 
  • A Proclamation issued may be revoked by a subsequent proclamation by the President.
  • The President shall not issue a Proclamation without the written permission of the Union Cabinet ( Council consisting of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of Cabinet rank under Article 75) . 
  • Every Proclamation issued under this article shall be laid before each House of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of one month unless before the expiration of that period it has been approved by resolutions of both Houses of Parliament. The proclamation gets a fresh lease of 6 month from the date it is approved by both Houses of parliament.It can be extended by six months by repeated parliamentary approval. 
  • During emergency, the union can give direction to any State regarding exercise of the executive power. Also, all money bills are referred to the Parliament for its approval (Article 354). 
  • The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended by a period of one year but not more than six months from the date when the emergency has ceased to exist. 
  • In such an emergency, Fundamental Rights under Article 19 of Indian citizens can be suspended (Article 359). The six freedoms under Right to Freedom are automatically suspended. However, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty cannot be suspended according to the original Constitution. 
State emergency - Failure of Constitutional Machinery in States
  • State emergency can be declared on failure of constitutional machinery in a state under Article 356. Nearly every state in India has been under a state of emergency at some point of time or the other, which is commonly known as 'President's Rule'. 
  • If the President is satisfied, on the basis of the report of the Governor of the concerned state or from other sources that the governance in a state cannot be carried out according to the provisions in the Constitution, he can declare emergency in the state. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within a period of two months. 
  • It is imposed for six months and can last for a maximum period of three years with repeated parliamentary approval every six months. If the emergency has to be extended for more than three years, it can be done by a constitutional amendment, as has happened in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • During such an emergency, the President can take over the entire work of the executive, and the Governor administers the state in the name of the President. the Legislative Assembly can be dissolved or may remain in suspended mode. The Parliament makes laws on the 66 subjects of the state list. All money bills have to be referred to the Parliament for approval.In this situation ministers of state legislature are not allowed to perform action in state. 
Financial Emergency 
  • Under Article 360, if the President is satisfied that there is an economic situation in which the financial stability or credit of India is threatened, he or she can declare financial emergency. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within two months. It has never been declared. Such a situation had arisen but was avoided by putting the gold assets of India as collateral for foreign credit. 
  • It remains enforced till the President revokes it. 
  • In case of a financial emergency, the President can reduce the salaries of all government officials, including judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. All money bills passed by the State legislatures are submitted to the President for his approval. He can direct the state to observe certain economy measures.

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