Emergency Provisions

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Part XVIII of the Constitution of India contains Articles 352-360 which deals with 'Emergency Provisions'. There are three kinds of provisions according to the Constitution.

  • National Emergency
  • State Emergency
  • Financial Emergency

Contents

National Emergency

Article 352 deals with the National Emergency. An emergency arising from the threat to the security of the country is called National Emergency. A national emergency can be proclaimed by the President of India when he is satisfied that a grave security threat exists to the national. The threat can either be by war, external aggression or armed rebellion.

The expression "Proclamation of Emergency" or "Emergency" deals only with Clause (1) of Article 352 of the Constitution of India and it does not include articles 356 and 360.

Grounds for Proclamation of Emergency

Before the 44th amendment to the Constitution of India, the following are the grounds under which the President can proclaim emergency.

  • War
  • External Aggression
  • Internal Disturbance

However, the term Internal Disturbance is too vague and might also include political agitations in the country. Hence, the 44th amendment replaced this with armed rebellion. After the 44th amendment the following are the grounds under with a National Emergency can be proclaimed by the President.

  • War
  • External Aggression
  • Armed Rebellion.

War

When a violent struggle between two countries with the use of armed forces. It also includes when a country has made a formal declaration of a war against India.

External Aggression

External aggression has wide meanings. It covers unilateral attacks with force by one state against another State without a formal declaration of war. As long as the other State has not answered with similar hostile attacks, it can be constituted an external aggression.

Publication of Proclamation of Emergency

There is no prescribed format in which a Proclamation of Emergency needs to be published. The publication can be made in any manner deemed fit in order to be known to public.

Effects

Suspension of Fundamental Rights

The first and foremost effect of an emergency is the suspension of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. Under articles 358 and 359, the President of India can extend the suspension of all fundamental rights except those mentioned in Articles 20 and 21.

Extension of Centre's Executive Power

The constitution empowers the Union to extend its executive power by giving directions to state.
(a) to give directions to the State (b) to make laws of the State

The executive power also extends to states where emergency is not in force, but are in relation to states which the Proclamation of Emergency is in operation.

Parliament to legislate on State subjects

The law-making power of the State is not suspended, but the Parliament can amend laws which override the state laws.

Extension of life of Lok Sabha

The President is empowered to extend the life of Lok Sabha by one year and can extend it six months each time.

Articles under Part XVIII: Emergency Provisions

  • Article 352: Proclamation of Emergency
  • Article 353: Effect of Proclamation of Emergency
  • Article 354: Application of provisions relating to distribution of revenues while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation
  • Article 355: Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance
  • Article 356: Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in States
  • Article 357: Exercise of legislative powers under Proclamation issued under article 356
  • Article 358: Suspension of provisions of article 19 during emergencies
  • Article 359: Suspension of the enforcement of the rights conferred by Part III during emergencies
  • Article 359A: [Repealed.]
  • Article 360: Provisions as to financial emergency

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