This article is written by Aanchal Rawat, a second-year student of R N Patel Ipcowala School of Law and Justice pursuing B.Com-LL.B. (Hon.)

What is the “Emergency”?

In Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word Emergency has been defined as,

“An unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action.”

As per Black law’s dictionary, “emergency” is defined as “as a failure of the social system to deliver reasonable conditions of life”. An emergency may be defined as “circumstances arising suddenly that calls for immediate action by the public authorities under the powers granted to them.”

When we say “The State of Emergency in India” we mean a period of governance that can be proclaimed by the president of India during certain crises situations.

Three Emergencies

In India, there are three types of emergencies which the Constitution of India provides under Article 352-360. They are:

  1. National Emergency
  2. State Emergency
  3. Financial Emergency

As per the situation different type of emergency is proclaimed. As per the Indian Constitution President of India has the authority to declare emergencies.

National Emergency

National emergency is declared on the basis of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.

As per Article 352, if President of India is “satisfied” that there is a great threat to the security of India or any of its territories due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion, then he can proclaim National Emergency.

As per Article 352 (3), the President can only make such proclamation when a piece of written advice is given by the Union Cabinet. The proclamation must be placed before both the houses of the parliament and must be approved within one month of the declaration of the proclamation otherwise it will expire.

The President can revoke the emergency through another proclamation if the situation improves. As per the 44th Amendment of the Constitution, the requisition for the meeting can be made by ten per cent or more members of the Lok Sabha and in that meeting; it can either disapprove or revoke the emergency by a simple majority. The emergency will immediately become inoperative in such a case.

Effects of Proclamation of Emergency:

The following are the effects of Proclamation of emergency: 

  • As per Article 353, the Union can use its executive power to the extent of giving directions to the State relating to how the executive powers shall be exercised by the State. 
  • As per Article 353 (b), the Union Parliament can make laws relating to the matters in the State List. 
  • As per Article 354, the Centre can alter the distribution of revenue between the Union and the State.
  • As per Article 83(2), the normal period of the Lok Sabha may be extended by the President by a year each time up to a period not exceeding 6 months after the proclamation comes to an end to operate. 
  • As per Article 358, during the period of national emergency, the fundamental rights under Article 19 shall be suspended but the fundamental rights under Article 20 and Article 21 will not be affected.

State Emergency

As per Article 356, if the President after receiving a report from the Governor of a State or otherwise is satisfied that such a situation exists where the Government of a State cannot be carried as per 

The provisions of the Constitution, he may issue a Proclamation.

When a Proclamation is issued under Article 356, it shall be first laid before each House (Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha) of the Parliament. The Proclamation shall remain in operation for 2 months unless before the expiry of the said period it has been approved by both Houses of the Parliament as per Article 356(3). In a situation, where the Lok Sabha has been dissolved during the issuance of a proclamation of emergency or its dissolution takes place within the above said period of two months and the Rajya Sabha has approved the Proclamation but the Lok Sabha has not approved it then the said proclamation shall not operate unless before the expiry of 30 days it has also been passed by the Lok Sabha after its reconstruction. The Proclamation will remain in operation for 6 months after it has been approved by the Parliament. The duration of an emergency can be extended for 6 months at a time but it cannot remain in operation for more than 3 years.

By a subsequent Proclamation, a proclamation of State Emergency can be revoked.

Effects of Proclamation of Emergency

State Emergency shall have the following effects: 

  • The President shall have all the powers which the Governor of the State has.
  • The President shall declare that the State shall exercise its Legislative powers by or under the authority of the Parliament. 
  • If the President thinks that necessary provisions shall be made to serve the purpose of the Proclamation, then he may make such provisions.

Judicial Guidelines for Imposing President’s rule

In S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, the court laid down the following guidelines:

  1. President’s rule is subject to judicial review.
  2. If the State Government is working against secularism then President’s rule can be imposed.
  3. There can be no wholesale dismissal of opposition rules State Governments when a new political party assumes power at the Centre.
  4. If the President’s rule is imposed on Political considerations then the court can even restore the assembly.
  5. The imposition of President’s rule and dissolution of stare assembly cannot be done at the same time.
  6. If Parliament approves Central rule only then the State Assembly can be dissolved.
  7. The Union Government can be compelled by the Supreme Court or a High Court to disclose the material on whose basis President’s rule is imposed on a state.
  8. The president has constitutional powers as per article 356, these powers are not absolute.

Financial Emergency

As per Article 360, a Proclamation of Financial Emergency may be issued, if the President thinks that such a situation exists where the financial stability of India or any part of the territory is threatened.

The Proclamation of Financial Emergency shall come to an end to operate after Two months unless it has been approved by both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha (i.e. houses of Parliament). If during the issuance of Proclamation the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or its dissolution takes place within the said period of 2 months and the Rajya Sabha has approved the proclamation but the Lok Sabha has not approved it. Then, the proclamation shall not operate unless before the expiry of 30 days Lok Sabha has passed a resolution approving proclamation.

Proclamation of Financial Emergency can be revoked by making another proclamation.

Effects of Proclamation of Emergency

  • Directions regarding the maintenance of financial stability will be given by the executive authority of the Union to the State.
  • It may include provisions for reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in the State including the Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. 
  • The Money Bills shall need the approval of the President.

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