Emergency power of the President of India

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Emergency powers of the President

As the President hold the highest office in the country, he/she also entails the greatest responsibility. He/she has to  take vital decisions during situation of crisis and handle emergencies. He/she to has to explain the nature and implications of an emergency to the people.

The emergency provision are contained in part 18 of the Constitution. The Constitution stipulate three types of emergency.  

Emergency power of India

 National Emergency 

Under Article 352, the President can declare national emergency when the security of the India or a part of it is threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion  (i.e internal disturbances).

National emergency under Article 352 was first proclaimed by the President in NEFA  (now Arunachal Pradesh) in October, 19962 against Chinese aggression. Second proclamation was made in December, 1971 when Pakistan declared war against India. Third proclamation was made in June, 1975 on the ground of ‘Internal disturbances’.


Do You Know? 

It was between  June 26, 1975- March 21,1977 when President Fakharuddin  Ali declared a state of emergency on the request of the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It was on of the most contentious issues in the Indian politics since independence. 


Proclamation of Emergency

● The proclamation of emergency must be approved by the both houses of Parliament within one month from the date of its issue. However, if the proclamation of emergency is issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved then the proclamation survive until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its  reconstruction.

● If approved by both the houses of Parliament, the emergency continues for the six months.

● Every resolution approving the proclamation of emergency must be passed by either House of Parliament by a two-thirds majority.

 President’s Rule

If constitutional machinery fails in a state,  then the President’s may proclaim President’s rule in that state under Article 356 of the Constitution. In such proclamation, the President takes over legislative powers from that states and gives it to the Parliament.  Such emergency is also proclaimed in those states where political instability increase and became difficult to from government.

Such proclamation must be approved by both the houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue. If approved by both houses of Parliament, the President Rule continues for six months.  The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put restrain on the power of Parliament to extend a proclamation of President’s Rule beyond one year. Since 1950, President’s Rule has been proclaimed 126 time which means on an average it is reclaimed first time in Punjab in 1951.

Financial Emergency

Article 360 empower the President to Proclaim a financial emergency, if there is a threaten to the financial stability or credit situation of India. Proclamation of financial emergency should also proved by the Parliament. The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the satisfaction of the President into declaring a financial emergency financial and conclusive and not questionable in any court of any ground. But, this provision was subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 implying that the satisfaction of the President is not beyond judicial review. It has not been proclaimed till now.

Criticism of the Emergency Provisions

Some of the members of the Constituent Assembly have criticised the provisions of emergency. They argued that it will hamper the federal structure and centre will became all powerful.

All the powers of states will come to central management and the President will become dictator. Ambedkar said ”I do not agree that these article would not be misused, but it will prove healthy for Indian democracy ”.

Important of Emergency Provisions

If the President has not been given emergency powers, the following situation would have arised in such cases

(i) Article 352 – (National Emergency) If such provisions have not been there then it Would have posed danger to Indian democracy.

(ii) Article 356 – (President’s Rule) If such provisions have not been there then it would have created political unrest in that state and posed danger to democratic set up, unity and integrity of the country.

(iii) Article 360 – ( Financial Emergency) If such provisions have not been there it would have created economic unrest in the country and have adversely affected balance of payment. In such circumstances, the economic reputation of the country would have been affected globally.

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