Emergency Provisions in the Constitution

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Art 352- Art 360 deal with emergency provisions, incorporated to safeguard the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country. These provisions empower the Union Govt to meet certain unforeseen emergencies effectively by converting the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment in the Constitution. 

It lists three types of emergencies: 2012 (02)

1. National Emergency (Art 352): 
Due to war, external aggression, armed rebellion, etc
2. President’s Rule (Art 356):
Due to failure of constitutional machinery in the States
3. Financial Emergency (Art 360):
Due to a threat to financial stability of the nation 

1. National Emergency (Art 352)

Proclamation:

President can proclaim it only after receiving a written recommendation from the cabinet. (Concurrence of the council)

Continuation:

To be approved by both the Houses (by special majority within 1 month)
Can be continued to an indefinite period (subject to approval in every 6 months)

Discontinuation:

  • President can revoke (No Parliamentary approval required)
  • Lok Sabha can revoke by passing resolution (by simple majority- binding on President)
  • If 1/10th of total members write to President/Speaker, special sitting within 14 days

Effects: 

  • The life of the Parliament/Assembly can be extended for any length of time (1 year at a time)
  • Fundamental Rights under Art 19 are automatically suspended (Art 358)
    (Only those laws which are related with emergency, not on the ground of armed rebellion)
  • President by order suspend other Fundamental Rights (as specified in the order except Art 20 and 21) (Art 359)
    (only those laws which are related with emergency)

Center- State Relations:

  • States are brought under the complete control of the Center directing the State regarding any matter.
  • Parliament is empowered to make laws on State List Subjects (inoperative 6 months after Emergency is ceased)
  • President can issue ordinance on the State Subjects and can modify the distribution of revenues

2. President’s Rule (Art 356)

Proclamation:

By the President when the govt of a State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution (even without Governor’s report) or when a State fails to comply with any Center direction (Art 365)

Continuation:

  • To be approved by both Houses (by simple majority) within 2 months
  • Can be extended to a max period of 3 years (subject to approval in every 6 months) 
  • However, after 1 year special conditions are to be fulfilled: National Emergency is in operation or ECI must certify that general elections cannot be held.

Discontinuation:

By President only

Effect: 

  • President dismisses the State Council and on his behalf, Governor carries the administration with the help of chief secretary.
  • Legislative Assembly is either dissolved or suspended. Parliament passes the State Legislature bills. 
  • Parliament can also delegate power to make laws to the President or any other authority specified by him.
  • A law made by the Parliament or the President continues to be in operation after the President’s Rule, it can be repealed by the State Legislature. 
  • It has been the most controversial and criticized provision of the Constitution. However, the satisfaction of the President is not beyond Judicial Review. 
  • Further, SC in Bommai Case (1994) has laid down the ‘Proper and Improper’ situations for imposing it. 

3. Financial Emergency (Art 360)

Proclamation:

By the President if he is satisfied that the financial stability of the country or a part is threatened. (not beyond Judicial Review)

Continuation:

  • To be approved by both Houses (by simple majority) within 2 months 
  • It continues indefinitely till revoked (no further approval required)

Discontinuation:

By the President at any time

Effects: 

  • The Central power extends to States in directing in matters related to finance like reservation of money bills for approval by the President
  • The President may issue directions for reduction in salary and allowances of all class of persons serving in the Union and State (including the SC and HC judges).
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