What is the Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency?

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Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency

There is no mention of Martial Law in the Indian Constitution but it is a situation wherein the military takes control. It replaces governance of the people and suspends most Fundamental Rights. On the other hand, a National Emergency under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution suspends certain Fundamental Rights. Moreover, it gives the Central Government additional powers and does not remove the governance of the people. Read on to know the details of the Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency! 

Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency

Moreover, here is a detailed difference between both: 

Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency
FeatureMartial LawNational Emergency
PurposeRestore order in a specific region during a serious crisis (war, rebellion) when civilian authorities fail.Address threats to the security of India, caused by war, external aggression, or internal disturbance. Can be declared nationwide or in a specific part of the country.
AuthorityMartial Law is declared by the military.Emergency is declared by the President of India.
Legal FrameworkRelies on military law, regulations, and orders.Governed by provisions outlined in the Indian Constitution and the Emergency Provisions Act.
Impact on Civilian AuthorityMilitary takes over administration and law enforcement. Civilian courts may be suspended.Civilian government continues to function. Courts operate normally.
DurationNo set duration. Revoked when the crisis subsides.Initially for 6 months, extendable for further periods with Parliamentary approval.
Fundamental RightsCan be suspended to varying degrees depending on the situation.Specific Fundamental Rights can be suspended by the President’s order. (Articles 19 and 21)
Parliamentary OversightNot directly subject to parliamentary approval.Requires approval from both Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) after the proclamation.
Review and OversightLimited Judicial Review, military tribunals often used for legal mattersSubject to Judicial Review, oversight by Parliament, and regular reports to the President
Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency

Key Points to Remember

Additionally, here are some key points to remember:

  • Martial Law is a more extreme measure with a greater impact on civilian rights and freedoms.
  • National Emergency allows the Government to take extraordinary measures while maintaining the basic framework of the constitution.

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Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of the Difference between Martial Law and National Emergency. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity! 

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