Home General Knowledge GK SPECIAL TOPIC : EMERGENCY PROVISIONS UNDER THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
GK SPECIAL TOPIC : EMERGENCY PROVISIONS UNDER THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
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Saturday, 26 July 2014 06:04


 

 


EMERGENCY PROVISIONS UNDER THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Emergency Provisions have been stated in the Constitution for dealing with extraordinary situations that may threaten the peace, security, stability and governance of the country or a part thereof. They are contained in part XVIII from articles 352 to 360.

There are three types of extraordinary or crisis situations that are envisaged.

• An emergency due to war or external aggression or armed rebellion i.e. NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

• An emergency due to the failure of the constitutional machinery of a State i.e. STATE EMERGENCY.

• An emergency due to a threat to credit or financial stability of the country i.e. FINANCIAL EMERGENCY.

Here I am discussing only national emergency, the other two will be discussed tomorrow.

NATIONAL EMERGENCY (Article 352):

The Constitution of India originally has provided for imposition of emergency caused by war, external aggression or internal disturbance but by the 44th Amendment Act “internal disturbance” was changed to “armed rebellion”.

This type of emergency can be declared by the President of India if he is satisfied that the situation is very grave and the security of India or any part thereof is threatened or is likely to be threatened.

The President can declare such an emergency only if the Cabinet recommends in writing for doing so whereas earlier only oral confirmation was sufficient. Such a proclamation of emergency has to be approved by both the Houses of Parliament by absolute majority of the total membership of the Houses as well as 2/3 majority of members present and voting within one month, otherwise the proclamation ceases to operate.

In case the Lok Sabha stands dissolved at the time of 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 also within one month of the start of its next session. Once approved by the Parliament, the emergency remains in force for a period of six months from the date of proclamation. In case it is to be extended beyond six months, another prior resolution has to be passed by the Parliament. In this way, such emergency continues indefinitely. But if the situation improves the emergency can be revoked by another proclamation by the President of India.

The 44th Amendment of the Constitution provided that ten per cent or more members of the Lok Sabha can requisition a meeting of the Lok Sabha and in that meeting, it can disapprove or revoke the emergency by a simple majority. In such a case emergency will immediately become inoperative.

National Emergency has been declared in our country three times

• The first emergency was declared on 26 October 1962 after China attacked our borders in the North East. This National Emergency lasted till 10 January 1968.

• The second emergency was declared on 3 December 1971 in the wake of the second India-Pakistan War and was lifted on 21 March 1977.

• The third National Emergency (called internal emergency) was imposed on 25 June 1975. This emergency was declared on the ground of ‘internal disturbances’.

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 a 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.

• During this period, the Lok Sabha can extend its tenure 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 about which you have already learnt 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.

State Emergency

According to the Constitution it is the duty of the Union Government to ensure that governance of a State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Under Article 356, the President may issue a proclamation to impose emergency in a state if he is satisfied on receipt of a report from the Governor of the concerned State, or otherwise, that a situation has arisen under which the administration of the State cannot be carried on according to the provisions of the constitution. In such a situation, proclamation of emergency by the President is ‘proclamation on account of the failure (or breakdown) of constitutional machinery.’ Thus it is known as "President's Rule" or "State Emergency" or "Constitutional Emergency".

The proclamation imposing state emergency must be placed before both the Houses of Parliament for approval. The approval must be given within two months from the date of its issue; otherwise the proclamation ceases to operate. If in the meantime Lok Sabha gets dissolved, then the proclamation must be approved within 30 days from the first sitting of Lok Sabha.

If approved by the Parliament, the proclamation remains valid for six months at a time. It can be extended for a maximum three years with the approval of the parliament, every six months. The 44th Amendment Act contained a provision that emergency beyond one year can be extended by six months at a time only when

(a) A National Emergency is already in operation; or if

(b) The Election Commission certifies that the election to the State Assembly cannot be held.

Effects of Imposition of President’s Rule in a State

• The President can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State Government or he may vest all or any of those functions with the Governor or any other executive authority.

• The President may dissolve the State Legislative Assembly or put it under suspension. He may authorize the Parliament to make laws on behalf of the State Legislature.

• The President can make any other incidental or consequential provision necessary to give effect to the object of proclamation.

• The parliament can delegate the power to make laws for the state to the President or any other body specified by him when the state legislature is suspended or dissolved.

The way President’s Rule was imposed on various occasions has raised many questions.

At times the President’s Rule was imposed purely on political grounds to topple the Ministry formed by a party different from the one at the Centre, even if that particular party enjoyed a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

In view of the above facts, Article 356 has become very controversial. In spite of the safeguards provided by the 44th Amendment Act, this provision has been alleged to be misused by the Union Government. That is why; there is a demand either for its deletion or making provision in the Constitution to restrict the misuse of this Article.

Financial emergency

The third type of Emergency is the Financial Emergency provided under Article 360. It provides that if the President is satisfied that the financial stability or credit of India or any of its part is threatened; he may declare a state of Financial Emergency.

A proclamation declaring financial emergency must be approved by the Parliament within two months from the date of its issue. If the Lok Sabha gets dissolved in the mean time then it must be cleared within 30 days from the first sitting of the new Lok Sabha.

The financial emergency continues indefinitely till it is revoked.

Effects of Financial Emergency

• The Union Government may give direction to any of the States regarding financial matters.

• The President may ask the States to reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons in government service.

• The President may ask the States to preserve all the money bills for the consideration of the Parliament after they have been passed by the State Legislature.

• The President may also give directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of the Central Government employees including the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

The financial emergency has never been proclaimed in India so far.







 

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