Emergency Provisions

Emergency provisions has been made in Constitution to safeguard and protect the security, integrity, and stability of the country and effective functioning of State Governments. The Constitution-makers has equipped the Central Government with the necessary authority for the hour of emergency when the security and stability of the country is threatened by internal and external threats.

Emergency Caused by War, External Aggression

Provisions have been made in the Constitution for dealing with three types of extraordinary or crisis situations that are:

  1. When there is a war or external aggression has been committed or there is threat of the same, or if internal disturbances amounting to armed rebellion take place.
  2. When it becomes impossible for the government of a State to be carried on in accordance with the Constitution.
  3. If the credit or financial stability of the country is threatened.

In each case the President may issue a proclamation with varying consequences.

Proclamation of National Emergency (Article 352)

Emergency caused by war, external aggression, or internal rebellion

  • This is described as the National Emergency.
  • Emergency can be declared by the President of India.
  • The security of India or any part thereof is threatened or is likely to be threatened either (i) by war or external aggression or (ii) by armed rebellion within the country.
  • By the 44th Amendment of the Constitution, President can declare such an emergency if the Cabinet recommends in writing.
  • Approved by both the Houses of Parliament by absolute majority of the total membership of the houses as well as 2/3 majority of members present and voting within one month.
  • Lok Sabha stands dissolved at the time of proclamation of emergency or is not in session. It must be approved by the Rajya Sabha within one month.
  • Emergency remains in force for a period of six months from the date of proclamation. To be extended beyond six months, another prior resolution must be passed by the Parliament.
  • Emergency can be revoked by another proclamation by the President of India.

National Emergencies

  1. Declared on 26 October 1962 after China attacked our borders in the Northeast. This National Emergency lasted till 10 January 1968.
  2. Declared on 3 December 1971 in the wake of the second India Pakistan War and was lifted on 21 March 1977.
  3. While second emergency based on external aggression was in operation, then third National Emergency (called internal emergency) was imposed on 25 June 1975.