- The Emergency provisions are contained in Part XVIII of the Constitution, from Articles 352 to 360.
- This Part of the Constitution was added to help the Central Government to maintain the essence of the Constitution during abnormal situations.
- During an Emergency, the federal structure of the constitution turns unitary.
- The Constitution highlights three types of emergencies:
- National Emergency (Article 352).
- State Emergency/President’s Rule (Article 356).
- Financial Emergency (Article 360).
- Under Article 352, the President can declare a national emergency when the security of India or a part of it is threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.
- This emergency can be declared even before the occurrence of the war, if the President is satisfied that there is an imminent danger.
- The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 allowed the President to issue different proclamations on grounds of war, external aggression, armed rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, whether or not there is a proclamation already issued by him and such proclamation is in operation.
- The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 enabled the President to limit the operation of a National Emergency to a specific part of India.
- The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 substituted the words ‘armed rebellion’ for ‘internal disturbance’. It also introduced a safeguard to eliminate any possibility of the Prime Minister alone taking a decision to declare Emergency as happened in 1975.
- The President can proclaim a national emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the cabinet.
- The proclamation of Emergency must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within one month from the date of its issue. This time limit was set by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
- If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the emergency continues for six months, and can be extended to an indefinite period with an approval of the Parliament for every six months.
- Every resolution approving the proclamation of emergency or its continuance must be passed by either House of Parliament by a special majority.
- A proclamation of emergency may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.
- Further, the President must revoke a proclamation if the Lok Sabha passes a resolution disapproving its continuation. Again, this safeguard was introduced by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
Effects of National Emergency
- While a proclamation of Emergency is in force, the normal fabric of the Centre–state relations undergoes a basic change. The federal structure is transformed into a unitary one.
- 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. But the State Governments are not suspended.
- During a national emergency, the Parliament becomes empowered to make laws on any subject mentioned in the State List. The laws made under such circumstances become inoperative six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.
- During a national emergency, the President can either reduce or cancel the transfer of finances from Centre to the states. Such modification continues till the end of the financial year in which the Emergency ceases to operate.
- While a proclamation of National Emergency is in operation, the life of the Lok Sabha may be extended beyond its normal term by a law of Parliament for one year at a time (for any length of time).
- Articles 358 and 359 describe the effect of a National Emergency on the Fundamental Rights. Article 358 deals with the suspension of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by Article 19, while Article 359 deals with the suspension of other Fundamental Rights.
- Article 355 imposes a duty on the Centre to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
- It is this duty in the performance of which the Centre takes over the government of a state under Article 356 in case of failure of constitutional machinery in state.
- The President’s Rule can be proclaimed under Article 356 on two grounds:
- Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation, if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Notably, the president can act either on a report of the governor of the state or otherwise too
- Article 365 says that whenever a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction from the Centre, it will be lawful for the president to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
- A proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
- If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the President’s Rule continues for six months.
- It can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
- the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 brought the satisfaction of the President’ Rule under Judicial Review.
- Every resolution approving the proclamation of the President’s Rule or its continuation can be passed by either House of Parliament only by a simple majority.
Consequences of President’s Rule
- He can take up the functions of the state government and powers vested in the governor or any other executive authority in the state.
- He can declare that the powers of the state legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
- He can take all other necessary steps including the suspension of the constitutional provisions relating to anybody or authority in the state.
- Article 360 empowers the president to proclaim a Financial Emergency.
- It arises under situation when the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened.
- A proclamation declaring financial emergency must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
- Once approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the Financial Emergency continues indefinitely till it is revoked.
- A resolution approving the proclamation of financial emergency can be passed by either House of Parliament only by a simple majority.
- A proclamation of Financial Emergency may be revoked by the president at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.
Effects of Financial Emergency
- The executive authority of the Centre extends to directions as the President may deem necessary and adequate for the purpose.
- Any such direction may include a provision requiring the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in the state; and the reservation of all money bills or other financial bills for the consideration of the President.
- The President may issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving the Union; and the judges of the Supreme Court and the high court.