Emergency Provisions in Indian Constitution

National Emergency | State Emergency | Financial Emergency

Table of contents

Relevance for UPSC Mains

  • GS 2 - Indian Constitution— historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

National Emergency

  • State government is not suspended
  • State legislation on state list subjects to the overriding power of centre.
  • The laws made by Parliament on the state subjects during a National  Emergency become inoperative six monthsafter the emergency has ceased to operate.
  • Notably, while a proclamation of national emergency is in operation,  the President can issue ordinances on the state subjects also, if the Parliament is not in  session.
  • President can modify the constitutional distribution of revenues between the centre and  the states. Such modification continues till the end of the financial year in which the  Emergency ceases to operate. Also, every such order of the President has to be laid before both  the Houses of Parliament.
  • Article 358: When a proclamation of national emergency is made, the six Fundamental  Rights under Article 19 are automatically suspended. No separate order for their suspension is  required. (only in case of External Emergency declared on the grounds of War or External Aggression)
  • Article 359 authorises the president to suspend the right to move any court for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights (only those Fundamental Rights (Except Article 20 and 21) that are specified in the Presidential Order) (Parliamentary approval is needed)

State Emergency

  • Beyond one year, the President’s Rule can be extended by six  months at a time only when the following two conditions are fulfilled:
  • a proclamation of National Emergency should be in operation in  the whole of India, or in the whole or any part of the state; and
  • the Election Commission must certify that the general elections to  the legislative assembly of the concerned state cannot be held
  • A law made by the Parliament or president or any other specified  authority continues to be operative even after the President’s Rule. But it can be repealed or altered or re-enacted by the state legislature.
  • Constitutional position, status, powers and functions of the concerned state high court remain same even during the President’s Rule
  • The state legislative assembly should be dissolved only after the  Parliament has approved the presidential proclamation

Financial Emergency

  • It more or less follows the pattern of what is called the  National Recovery Act of the United States passed in 1933

Comparison of Types of Emergencies

National Emergency  (352)
President’s Rule (State Emergency or Constitutional Emergency) (356)
Financial Emergency (360)
It can be proclaimed only when the security of India or a part of it is threatened by war, external aggression (External Emergency) or armed rebellion (Internal Emergency).
It can be proclaimed when the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution (356). or
State fails to comply with the direction given by Centre. (365)
Due to threat to the financial stability orCredit of India
Can be applicable to entire nation or only part of it.

President can proclaim emergency onlyafter receiving written recommendationfrom the cabinet 
can act on Governor's report or otherwise
Judicial Review applicable
same (Bommai Case Judgement, 1994)
During its operation, the state executive and legislature continue to function and exercise the powers assigned to them under the Constitution. 
Its effect is that the Centre gets concurrent powers of administration and legislation in the state.
During its operation, the state executive is dismissed and the state legislature is either suspended or dissolved. The president administers the state through the governor and the Parliament makes laws for the state & passes state budget. 
In brief, the executive and legislative powers of the state are assumed by the Centre.

The Parliament can make laws on the subjects enumerated in the State List only by itself, i.e. it can’t delegate the same to any other body or authority. Such laws made by parliament becomes inoperative 6 months after end of emergency
The Parliament can delegate the power to make laws for the state to the President or to any other authority specified by him. So far, the practice has been for the president to make laws for the state in consultation with the members of Parliament from that state.

Proclamation must be approved by both the houses within one month
Every resolution of Parliament approving its proclamation or its continuance must be passed by a special majority.
Proclamation must be approved by both the houses within two month
Every resolution of Parliament approving its proclamation or its continuance can be passed only by a simple majority.
Proclamation must be approved by both the houses within twomonth by simple majority
There is no maximum period prescribed for its operation. It can be continued indefinitely with the approval of Parliament for every six months.
There is a maximum period prescribed for its operation, that is, three years. Thereafter, it must come to an end. (with approval of Parliament for every six months)
It can be continued indefinitely

No need of the approval of Parliament for continuation 
Under this, the relationship of the Centre with all the states undergoes a modification.
Under this, the relationship of only the state under emergency with the Centre undergoes a modification.

It affects fundamental rights (FR) of the citizens.
No effect on FR
No effect on FR
Term of the LS can be extended beyond 5 years- one year at a time (for any length of time) by a law of parliament.
This extension continues only for 6 months after emergency has ceased to operate.
In similar way, Parliament may extend normal tenure of state legislative assembly

Proclamation of emergency may be revoked by the President any time w/o parliamentary approval
Lok Sabha (No RS) can pass a resolution (by simple majority) for its revocation. President must revoke emergency in this case

There is no such provision. It can be revoked by the President only on his own discretion.

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