Types of Emergencies Under Indian constitution

Types of Emergencies Under Indian constitution

Three Types of Emergency Under The Indian Constitution

The encyclopedia of Black Law defines emergency as a failure to provide reasonable living standards by the social system. The term “emergency” may be defined as “suddenly emerging circumstances requiring public authorities to act immediately in accordance with their particular authority.” Dr. B.R Ambedkar stated that the Indian Federation is unique because it can become a fully unitary system during an emergency. The emergency provisions of India enable the Federal Government, when the situation requires, to gain the strength of a unitary government. All peaceful approaches should be exhausted in these emergencies and urgencies should also be the last tool to use as they affect India’s federal government characteristics.

In the Indian Constitution, namely there are three types of emergencies:

  • National Emergency
  • State Emergency
  • Financial Emergency

National Emergency

The national emergency is discussed in Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. There is a national emergency imposed by which the safety of India or its territory is seriously threatened by war, external aggression, or the armed rebellion. On written request by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister, the President shall impose that emergency.

Each proclamation shall be submitted before the Parliament after 1 month of its issuance, except where it has been approved by the Parliament in the meantime and it shall continue for six months without the President’s revoking of the proclamation. The solution must be adopted by both houses of parliament by a majority of no less than two – third members of the House for further continuation of the emergency.

The executive, legislative and financial powers will be the main focus during such an emergency while the state legislature will not be suspended. Under Article250 of the Constitution the union government has the authority to legislate on the subjects listed in the list of states. All basic rights are suspended with the exception of Art 20 and 21. In accordance with Article 359 the President may in emergency situations, suspend the right of the courts to enforce fundamental rights.

In 1962, when the Chinese attacked, in 1971 during the Indo-Pak War, and in 1975 on the grounds of internal disturbance, the national emergency was imposed three times in the country.

State Emergency or Failure Of Constitutional Machinery In State

In the State also known as presidential rule, Article 256 talks about the failure of constitutional machinery. If the President is satisfied on the Governor’s report or otherwise that the government is not able to carry on in line with the constitutional provisions, he may issue urgency to the State.

The President may either declare the Governor’s report an emergency, or he himself is convinced that an emergency must be enforced. But occasionally, when no report is received from the Governor, President may declare emergency. In the state of Tamil Nadu, President Venkataraman did so in 1991 even though he was not told by the governor.

The State emergency has become immune from judicial review since the 42nd amendment to the constitution. However the legitimacy of the rule of the President could later be called into question in the 44th amendment

Unless approved by both Houses, a declaration of a state of emergency must be sent to each House of Parliament after a two-month period has elapsed. Each time both House and Parliament adopt a resolution approving its continuation, the period of the proclamation may also be extended to 6 months.

The proclamation may only be extended for a term of one year if the Election Committee certifies that an election in the state or territory is not feasible. Follow-up with state emergencies-

  • The President carries on all of the State’s executive authority. He or any other person named by him or him as Governor is the state administration.
  • The State Assembly shall be dissolved or suspended during such a proclamation. However the MLA does not forfeit its Assembly membership.
  • Parliament makes state list rules. Only for the State should the parliament enact the budget.
  • Autonomous operation of the State High Court.
  • Chairman also proclaims state ordinances.

The government of the Union has complete oversight of the State during the state of emergencies other than the judiciary. Looking at previous state emergencies in the state, there are three common reasons which are invoked in conjunction with Article 356 – law and order breakdown, political unrest, corruption and mismanagement.

The presidential decree dissolving the state assembly in Bihar under Art.356 was found to be unconstitutional on an international and non-relevant basis in Rameshwar Praasad V. UOI (Bihar Assembly Dissolution Case). The court said the governor of the state deceived the centre in proposing that the State assembly be dissolved.

In the historical case of S.R. Bommai V. UOI a bench of the High Court in Karnataka gave a different opinion on the imposition in Karnataka of the President’s order, while in other countries the court held it was breaching the Constitution and would have re-established its original status.

Financial Emergency

The President has the right to declare a financial emergency under Article 360 of the Constitution when he is satisfied that India or any part of its territory is threatened with financial stability or loans. It must be placed before both Parliament chambers and stops working at the expiry of two months, unless the resolution of the chambers approves it.

During financial emergency operations, the executive authority of the syndicate provides any state with guidance to comply with such particular canons or financial property and with such other guidance as may be appropriate to its President. The directions which entail reduction in wages of those serving a state, including judges of the high court and the Supreme Court, and all those serving a state in relation to union relations. No financial emergency has occurred in India.


There may be a violation of the constitutional rights of persons lawfully conferred by the Constitution of India during a time of emergency for the exercise of authority. In order to avoid political gains and to give way to political interest, it is important to review the validity of the steps. Although there is still a significant role in the conditions prevailing in India despite the misuse of powers of emergency provisions, this is still controversial in the region.

Author: Sampark Sampad,
National Law University, Odisha 2nd year/ Student

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