Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution

What does emergency provision mean?

The emergency provisions in Indian Constitution are invoked by the President of India to tackle any abnormal situation. The Constitution of India provides for three types of emergency namely; National emergency, Financial Emergency, and State Emergency. These emergency provisions can only be invoked by the President of India on the advice of the Cabinet on Ministers. The emergency provision in Indian Constitution allows the union government to change the federal system into a unitary one even without a formal amendment of the constitution.

What are the three types of emergencies?

ArticleType of Emergency
Article 352National Emergency
Article 356State Emergency/Constitutional Emergency
Article 360Financial Emergency

Explained – Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution (Article 352-360)

National Emergency 

Article 352 – The President can proclaim a national emergency when the security of India or part of it is threatened by “War” or “armed rebellion” or “external aggression”. 

The President can also declare a national emergency even before the actual occurrence of the war, external aggression, or armed rebellion if he is satisfied that such a situation may occur anytime.

Grounds of declaration 

  • External war
  • Armed rebellion
  • External aggression
  • Eminent danger from external war, armed rebellion or external aggression

A national emergency must be approved by either House of Parliament with a special majority which is defined as

  • A majority of the total membership of the house 
  • A majority of not less than two-thirds members of that house, present and voting.

State Emergency

It is also known as a President’s rule and is proclaimed during a constitutional crisis in a state.

Grounds of Proclamation

Article 356 – In case of failure of the constitutional machinery, it is the duty of the center to take over the government of the state under this article. 

The President of India may impose state emergency on two grounds as given below.

  • If the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which a government of a state cannot be carried in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, he can impose the President’s rule in the state. The President can also act on a report of the governor of the state.
  • Article 365 also provides for the grounds of the President’s rule. If the state fails to comply with the directives of the center, it will be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. 

The proclamation of the President’s rule in a state must be approved by both the houses of the Parliament with a simple majority, within two months from the date of its issue.

The duration of the President’s rule is six months. However, it can be extended for a maximum period of 3 years with the approval of the Parliament after every six months.

Financial emergency

Under Article 360, the President can proclaim a Financial Emergency if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen which may threaten the financial stability or credibility.

The financial emergency remains in operation until the president revokes it. The constitution has not prescribed the maximum period for the financial emergency. Moreover, repeated parliamentary approval is also not required for its continuation.

The resolution proclaiming financial emergency can be passed by either house of Parliament by a simple majority.

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