NATIONAL EMERGENCY

NATIONAL EMERGENCY

Introduction

The Emergency provisions are mentioned in Part XVIII of the Indian Constitution from Article 352 to 360. There are three types of emergencies mentioned in the Constitution and the power to impose these emergencies is upon the President of India. The concept of the Proclamation of Emergency was adopted from the Weimar Constitution of Germany.

Emergency provision is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution that allows the Centre to assume extended powers to handle special situations. In an emergency, the Centre can hold entire legislative and executive control of any state.

The Constitution provides three types of emergency. They are as follows: –

  1. National Emergency (Article 352)
  2. State Emergency (Article 356)
  3. Financial Emergency (Article 360)

Article 352

The provision for National Emergency is provided under Article 352 of the Constitution. It states that if the President feels that there is an extraordinary situation that may threaten the security, peace, stability, and governance of India or any part thereof, he can proclaim the emergency.

Under Article 352 of the Constitution, the president on following grounds can impose national emergency:-

i) War,

ii) External aggression or

iii) Armed Rebellion.

A proclamation of emergency can be made even before the actual occurrence of the above-mentioned grounds. It can be proclaimed even if there is an expected danger of the happening of war or external aggression or armed rebellion.

The President can make a proclamation only upon the written advice of the Cabinet. Such a proclamation must be placed before each house of the parliament and must be passed by each house within one month of the declaration of the proclamation unless it will expire.

Once approved by the Parliament, the emergency remains in force for six months from the date of passing of the second resolution approving it, unless withdrawn earlier. In case, the emergency is to be extended beyond six months, approval by the parliament would be required every six months.

In case the Lok Sabha stands dissolved at the time of the proclamation of emergency or is not in session, it has to be approved by the Rajya Sabha within one month and later on by the Lok Sabha, within one month of the start of its next session.

The proclamation of emergency or a proclamation varying such proclamation shall be revoked by the president if a resolution disapproving it or its continuance passed by the Lok Sabha, provided the requisition to be made by not less than 1/10th members of the Lok Sabha in writing to the Speaker if the house in session or to the president if the house is not in session.

Effects of National Emergency

The following are the consequences of the Proclamation of Emergency:

  1. The main effect is that the federal form of the Constitution changes into unitary. The Union Parliament is empowered to make laws for the entire country or any part thereof, even in respect of matters mentioned in the State List. The law-making power of the state is not suspended during the emergency but it is subject to the overriding power of the Union Parliament.
  2. The executive power of the Union extends to giving directions to any state as to how the executive power of the states is to be exercised.
  3. During the emergency period, the President may extend the tenure of the Lok Sabha by one year each time. But the same cannot be increased beyond 6 months after the proclamation ceases to operate.
  4. While the Proclamation of emergency is in operation, the President by the order can modify the provisions regarding distribution of revenues between the Union and the State.
  5. Under Article 358, National Emergency suspends the rights guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution and this suspension continues till the end of the emergency. Also, other Fundamental Rights get suspended under Article 359 except Article 20 and 21.

-Mohit Goyal
Associate at Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates

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