All the Emergency Provisions in the Indian Constitution (Exams Notes)

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Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution

In a political system, the declaration of an Emergency signifies a scenario where the highest authority imposes limitations on the people’s freedoms. Within India, such limitations are enforced based on specific Constitutional provisions commonly referred to as Emergency Provisions. Additionally, Emergencies are declared under different circumstances such as during times of war, internal unrest, external aggression, financial crises or armed rebellion affecting either the entire nation or specific regions. These declarations result in curtailments of individual freedoms. Let us now get down to the nitty-gritty of the Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution. 

Also Read: Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

What Happens During an Emergency?

The Indian Constitution provides Emergency Provisions in a distinct section known as Part XVIII, Articles 352 to 360. The authority to declare an emergency rests with the President of India, who does so upon the advice of the Council of Ministers. However, the Prime Minister effectively wields power during such Emergencies. 

During times of Emergency, the Federal Executive has the authority to issue directives to the State Executive. Moreover, the Parliament is authorised to enact laws on subjects not listed in the Union Legislature List. In such Emergencies, the powers of State governments are secondary to those of the Central Government of India. 

Also Read: Important Articles in the Indian Constitution

What are the Three Types of Emergencies?

The Three Types of Emergencies are as follows:

  • National Emergency Article 352
  • State Emergency or President’s Rule Article 356
  • Financial Emergency Article 360

What is the History of the Emergency Provisions?

The Emergency Provisions in the Indian Constitution draw inspiration from the Weimar Constitution of Germany and the Government of India Act of 1935. The Indian Constitution was influenced by the Government of India Act of 1935, which included Emergency Provisions in sections 45 and 93 for the Center and Provinces respectively, thus granting authority to the Chief Executive to declare emergencies.

While the Government of India Act of 1935 aimed to grant autonomy to the Provinces in India, it also incorporated Emergency Provisions that curtailed this autonomy. Additionally, these provisions addressed the dynamic between the central and provincial units. Hence allowing the Center to intervene in provincial affairs during war or internal disturbance. Moreover, allowing the Governor-General to legislate on matters, even those within the Provincial List during emergencies.

In addition, the German Constitution also impacted the inclusion of Emergency Provisions in the Indian Constitution. The Governor-General of India held specific responsibilities for maintaining peace and tranquillity in India or any part thereof. Moreover, including the ability to act autonomously within provincial governments through Governors, who served as the principal sources of information for the Governor-General.

Also Read: Sources of the Indian Constitution: Detailed Notes for Competitive Exams

National Emergency Article 352

Article 352 of the Indian Constitution outlines the circumstances under which a National Emergency can be declared which includes situations like war, external aggression, armed rebellion, or internal disturbances. Furthermore, the 44th Constitutional Amendment replaced “internal disturbance” with “armed rebellion.” The President can declare an Emergency upon receiving written communication from the Cabinet and after meeting certain criteria. During such Emergencies, Fundamental Rights can be suspended except for Articles 20 and Article 21. Moreover, the Union government’s authority extends over State jurisdictions, hence allowing it to direct state executive powers.

Since Independence, three National Emergencies have been declared: 

Each instance had unique circumstances prompting the Emergency declaration.

Also Read: Who Can Suspend the Fundamental Rights of Indians? 

State Emergency or President’s Rule Article 356

A State Emergency also referred to as the President’s Rule, which is Article 356, is declared when there is a breakdown of the constitutional machinery within a State. Moreover, it is invoked as a measure to address situations where the State government is unable to function according to the provisions of the Indian Constitution. 

Even though the President declares a state of emergency, it is the Governor of the State who functions as the representative of the President or the central government. This arrangement is commonly referred to as Central Rule within the States.

Also Read: Who was The First Woman Governor of an Indian State?

Basis for Imposition of State Emergency or President’s Rule

The President can impose rule under Article 356 based on these grounds:

  • When it is evident that the State Government cannot function as per the Constitutional Provisions.
  • The State Legislature is unable to appoint a Chief Minister
  • A Collapse of the Coalition
  • Elections cannot be held due to pressing circumstances
  • A Decline in the majority within the Assembly
  • When a State fails to comply with directives from the Central government, hence it leads to a situation where the State government cannot operate as per the Indian Constitution.

In the Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution, for a declaration enacting a State Emergency or President’s Rule. It is necessary to gain approval from both chambers of the Parliament within a 2-month window from its issuance. 

  • However, in cases where the proclamation occurs during the dissolution of the Lok Sabha or if dissolution happens within 2 months without ratifying the proclamation, it remains effective until 30 days following the reconstitution of the Lok Sabha’s first session, as long as the Rajya Sabha approves of it beforehand.

Also Read: Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature: Meaning, Characteristics, Differences

Result of State Emergence or President’s Rule

When the State Emergency or President’s rule is imposed in a state, the President gains exceptional authority, which includes:

  • Assuming the functions of the State Government and the powers delegated to the Governor or any other executive authority within the state.
  • Moreover, declaring that the powers typically held by the State legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
  • Implementing any other essential measures, such as suspending Constitutional Provisions related to any body or authority within the State.

Liberty of Judicial Review

The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 established that the President’s decision in invoking Article 356 was deemed conclusive and final and thus immune to challenge in any Court. However, the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 removed this Provision, hence implying that the President’s decision is subject to Judicial Review as per the Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution.

Exceptions of State Emergency or President’s Rule

The Exceptions are: 

  • Except for the recently formed states of Chhattisgarh(1st of November, 2000) and Telangana(2nd of June, 2014), all other states in India have been subjected to State Emergency or President’s Rule at different points in time.
  • In most states across India, other than Jammu and Kashmir, the governing principle is known as State Emergency or the President’s Rule. However, in Jammu and Kashmir, it is termed the Governor’s Rule.

Also Read: The Basic Structure Doctrine: Safeguarding Constitutional Integrity

Financial Emergency Article 360

As per Article 360, a Financial Emergency as the name suggests, may be declared in India in the event of financial instability affecting the nation or any of its regions. Till today, India has not experienced a Financial Emergency.

A declaration of Financial Emergency requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament within 2 months of its issuance. 

  • However, if such a declaration is made when the Lok Sabha is dissolved or if its dissolution occurs during the 2 months without the proclamation being approved, it remains in effect until 30 days after the first sitting of the reconstituted Lok Sabha, provided that the Rajya Sabha has given its approval in the meantime. 
  • Once approved by both Houses, the Financial Emergency remains in effect until it is revoked.

Result of Financial Emergency 

Moreover, the Results of the Financial Emergency are: 

  • Expansion of the federal government’s control over the fiscal affairs of the states.
  • In addition, a decrease in the salaries and perks of people employed in State service, regardless of their designation.
  • Requirement for all Financial Bills, including money-related legislation, to undergo review by the President following their approval by the State legislature.
  • A mandate from the President to cut the salaries and benefits of federal employees also includes Supreme Court and High Court judges.

Also Read: Powers & Functions of the Indian Judiciary: Important Notes

Exceptions of Financial Emergency

Additionally, regarding Jammu and Kashmir’s unique constitutional status governed by Article 370, the Indian Union lacks the authority to declare a Financial Emergency in the region.

Disapproval of Financial Emergency

Furthermore, certain people within the Constituent Assembly voiced concerns regarding the inclusion of Emergency Provisions for the following reasons:

1. They feared that the Federal Structure of the Indian Constitution would be undermined. Thus, leading to an excessive centralisation of power and an overly dominant Union Government.

2. Moreover, they expressed worries that the Emergency Provisions would merge all authority, both at the Federal and State levels. It would be solely within the hands of the Union Executive, thus diminishing the autonomy of State Governments.

3. Concerns were raised about the potential for the President to wield dictatorial powers during times of Emergency, hence undermining the principles of Democracy.

4. There were apprehensions that the Financial Independence of States would be compromised under the Emergency Provisions, thus weakening their ability to govern effectively.

5. In addition, some argued that the inclusion of Emergency Provisions could dilute Fundamental Rights, thereby undermining the Democratic aspect of the Indian Constitution.


What are the emergency acts in the Constitution of India?

The emergency acts in the Constitution of India are under Article 352 which is for a National Emergency, Article 356 which is for a State Emergency or President’s Rule and Article 360 which is for a Financial Emergency. 

What is the Article 352 and 356?

Article 352 and 356 are Emergency Provisions under Part XVIII of the Constitution of India which are National Emergency and State Emergency or President’s Rule, respectively. 

What are the types of emergency provisions?

The Types of Emergency Provisions are:
National Emergency Article 352
State Emergency or President’s Rule Article 356
Financial Emergency Article 360

Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of the Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity! 

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