Emergency Provision

Context:

  • PART XVIII and Articles 352 to 360 describe the emergency provisions of India.
  • Under the Indian Constitution, there are three types of emergency provisions −
    • National Emergency;
    • Failure of constitutional machinery in state/s or President’s Rule; and
    • Financial Emergency.

National Emergency

  • Article 352 states that if the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or of any part of the territory thereof is threatened, whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion, he may, by Proclamation, make a declaration to that effect in respect of the whole of India or of such part of the territory thereof as may be specified in the Proclamation.
  • However, Article 352 (4) states that every Proclamation issued under this article shall be laid before each House of Parliament and shall, except where it is a Proclamation revoking a previous Proclamation, 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.
  • Further, Article 352 (5) states that a Proclamation so approved shall, unless revoked, cease to operate on the expiration of a period of six months from the date of the passing of the second of the resolutions approving the Proclamation under clause (4).
  • Article 353 states that while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, then the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to any State as to the manner in which the executive power thereof is to be exercised.

Failure of constitutional machinery in state/s or President’s Rule

  • Article 356 states that if the President, on receipt of a report from the Governor of a State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, then he (the President) may issue state emergency.
  • Article 356 (3) states that every Proclamation under this article shall be laid before each House of Parliament and shall, except where it is a Proclamation revoking a previous Proclamation, cease to operate at the expiration of two months unless before the expiration of that period it has been approved by resolutions of both Houses of Parliament.
  • Further, Article 356 (4) states that a Proclamation so approved shall, unless revoked, cease to operate on the expiration of a period of six months from the date of issue of the Proclamation.
  • Article 357 states that where by a Proclamation issued under clause (1) of Article 356, it has been declared that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament.
  • Article 359 states that where a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, the President may by order declare that the right to move any court for the enforcement of such of the rights conferred by Part III (except articles 20 and 21) as may be mentioned in the order and all proceedings pending in any court for the enforcement of the rights so mentioned shall remain suspended for the period during which the Proclamation is in force or for such shorter period as may be specified in the order.

Effects of National Emergency

The declaration of National Emergency has far-reaching effects both on the rights of individuals and the autonomy of the states in the following manner:

  • During the operation of national emergency the executive power of the centre extends to directing any state regarding the manner in which its executive power is to be exercised.
  • Parliament becomes empowered to make laws on any subject mentioned in the state list.
  • The tenure of the Lok Sabha extends by a period of one year at a time. But the same cannot be extended beyond six months after the proclamation ceases to operate. The tenure of State Assemblies can also be extended in the same manner.
  • During emergency, the President is empowered to modify the provisions regarding distribution of revenues between the Union and the States.
  • The Fundamental Rights under Article 19 are automatically suspended and this suspension continues till the end of the emergency. But according to the 44th Amendment Article 19 can be suspended only in case of proclamation on the ground of war or external aggression and not on ground of armed rebellion.
  • Other fundamental rights may also get suspended except Article 20 and 21.

Financial Emergency

  • Article 360 states that if the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen whereby the financial stability or credit of India or of any part of the territory thereof is threatened, he may by a Proclamation make a declaration to that effect.
  • Article 360 (4) (b) states that it shall be competent for the President during the period any Proclamation issued under this article is in operation to issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in connection with the affairs of the Union including the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.