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State of Emergency in India: Wikis

  
  

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See also Indian Emergency (1975–1977)

A state of emergency in India refers to a period of governance under an altered constitutional setup that can be proclaimed by the President of India, when he perceives grave threats to the nation from internal and external sources or from financial situations of crisis. Under the advice of the cabinet of ministers and using the powers vested in him largely by Part XVIII of the Constitution of India, the President can overrule many provisions of the constitution, which guarantee fundamental rights to the citizens of India and acts governing devolution of powers to the states which form the federation. In the history of independent India, there were three periods during which a state of emergency was deemed to have existed.

  1. Between 26 October 1962 to 10 January 1968 during the India-China war — "the security of India" having been declared "threatened by external aggression".
  2. Between 3 December 1971 to 1977 originally proclaimed during the Indo Pakistan war, and later extended along with the third proclamation — "the security of India" having been declared "threatened by external aggression".
  3. Between 26 June 1975 to 21 March 1977 under controversial circumstances of political instability under the Indira Gandhi's prime ministership — "the security of India" having been declared "threatened by internal disturbances".

The President can declare three types of emergencies:

  • National emergency
  • State emergency
  • Financial emergency

Contents

National emergency under article 352

National emergency is caused by war, external aggression or armed rebellion in the whole of India or a part of its territory. Such an emergency was declared in India in 1962 (Indo-China war), 1971 (Indo-Pakistan war), and 1975 (declared by Indira Gandhi to maintain law and order in the country).

The President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within one month. Such an emergency can be imposed for six months. It can be extended by six months by repeated parliamentary approval.

In such an emergency, Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens can be suspended. The six freedoms under Right to Freedom are automatically suspended. However, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty cannot be suspended. It modifies the federal system of government to a unitary one.

The Parliament can make laws on the 66 subjects of the State List (which contains subjects on which the state governments can make laws). Also, all money bills are referred to the Parliament for its approval. The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended by a period of one year but not more than six months from the date when the emergency has ceased to exist.

State emergency under article 356

State emergency is declared due to failure of constitutional machinery in a state. Almost all states have undergone this type of an emergency. This emergency is also known as President's rule.

If the President is satisfied, on the basis of the report of the Governor of the concerned state or from other sources that the governance in a state cannot be carried out according to the provisions in the Constitution, he can declare emergency in the state. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within a period of two months.

It is imposed for six months and can last for a maximum period of three years with repeated parliamentary approval every six months. If the emergency need to be extended for more than three years, it can be done by a constitutional amendment, as has happened in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

During such an emergency, the President can take over the entire work of the executive, and the Governor administers the state in the name of the President. the Legislative Assembly can be dissolved or may remain in suspended animation. The Parliament makes laws on the 66 subjects of the state list (see National emergency for explanation). All money bills have to be referred to the Parliament for approval.In this situation ministers of state legislature are not allowed to perform action in state.

Financial emergency under article 360

If the President is satisfied that there is an economic situation in which the financial stability or credit of India is threatened, he or she can declare financial emergency. Such an emergency must be approved by the Parliament within two months. It has never been declared. Such a situation had arisen but was avoided by selling off of the gold assets of India

It remains enforced till the President revokes it.

In case of a financial emergency, the President can reduce the salaries of all government officials, including judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. All money bills passed by the State legislatures are submitted to the President for his approval. He can direct the state to observe certain principles (economy measures) relating to financial matters.

The phrase Emergency period used loosely, when referring to the political history of India, often refers to the third and the most controversial of the three occasions. ssd

References








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