What are the Emergency Provisions of the Indian Constitution?

In India, a state of emergency is a period of rule that the President of India can declare in specific crisis situations. With the advice of the cabinet of ministers, the President can overturn various articles of the Constitution that guarantee Fundamental Rights to Indian citizens.

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Articles 352 to 360 of the Indian Constitution contain emergency provisions, making them some of the most important articles in the constitution of India.

The key idea behind the emergency provisions of the constitution was to protect the region against tyranny combined with domestic chaos, conflicts, and foreign assaults. According to the Black Law Dictionary, any emergency requires prompt involvement and impending notice because such a scenario threatens both people and liberty in the territory.

Let’s learn about the important emergency provisions, their historical context and important events in detail.

Historical Context of Emergency Provisions UPSC Syllabus

When deciding on the extraordinary arrangements under which the President may declare an emergency, the framers of the Constitution faced a dilemma. India’s pre-independence era is remembered for instances of destructive casteism, communalism, and religious tension.

With the defeat of the Monarch of Kashmir, a confrontation with Pakistan began. Junagarh and Hyderabad have expressed reservations about joining the Union of India. The Government of India devised Article 352 to address the issue and prevent separatist action.

Socialist administrations were emerging in post-independence India, and the communist actions of Telangana’s workers and farmers were growing. Article 356 was enacted to defend legislative procedures and ensure safety in the face of grave situations.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar later added Article 360 to the list to shore up the country’s financial condition, which was deteriorating along with foreign currency reserves and branches.

Important Events and Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution

The Constitution defines three kinds of emergencies:

  • National Emergency
  • Constitutional Emergency
  • Financial Emergency

Part XVIII of the Constitution of India, from Articles 352 to 360 contains the emergency provisions in India.

  • Article 352 demarcates the National Emergency: Article 352 states that the President may declare an emergency if the region is under attack, external intrusion, or internal insurrection. Though such a proclamation could only be issued in the presence of the legislative house and with the consent of both chambers, the emergency was lifted within a month.

The first national emergency was declared during the war with China, which lasted from 1962 to 1968. Following that, because to internal turmoil, Smt. Indira Gandhi imposed the most disputed emergency.

  • State Emergency has been included in Article 356: Article 356 states that the President may proclaim a state of emergency upon receiving briefs from the Governor of a certain state or upon observing decaying processes of the state. Smt. Indira Gandhi’s presidency was marked by 35 occurrences of President rule.
  • Financial Emergencies are in Article 360: If solid proof of an unstable economy and credibility is found, the President may proclaim a financial emergency. Declaring a financial emergency is heavily influenced by executive and legislative variables. According to Article 360, a corresponding proclamation will be deferred for the duration of the emergency. In India, no financial emergency has ever been declared.

The 44th Amendment altered the picture of emergency provisions in the Indian Constitution, which traditionally limited the executive’s undue authority. “Armed revolt” replaces “internal turmoil.”

It is also stated unequivocally that direct communication between cabinets is required in order to declare an emergency. Furthermore, homeowners need to be re-approved to continue with the emergency every six months. Finally, the state of emergency can be lifted with a simple majority in both Houses.

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