In what conditions emergency provisions can be invoked?

One of the unique feature of Indian constitution is Emergency provisions that allows the centre to assume wide powers so as to handle special situations. During emergency , the centre can take full legisl;ative and executive control of any state.That is why India is called a Federal country of its own kind. The emergency is a period of depression where all fundamental rights of a person is taken away except Article 20 and 21.
Types of Emergencies in India-
A state of emergency in India refers to a period of governance that can be proclaimed by President of India during crisis situation.
Indian Constitution stipulates three types of emergency-

  • National emergency (article 352)
  • Constitutional emergency (article 356)
  • Financial emergency (article 360)


Article 352 of Indian constitution provides for National emergency. The National emergency applies whenever there is an extraordinary situation that may threaten peace, security , stability and governance of the country or a part thereof.


WAR – When a country declares a formal war against India.
EXTRENAL AGGRESSION- When a country attacks another country without any formal declaration of war.
ARMED REBELLION- When a group of people rebel against the present government.
Article 352(3) states that the President shall declare emergency only on the written advice of the cabinet i.e. PM+COM.
Minerva Mills vs. Union of India, the Supreme court held that the National emergency can be challenged in the court on the ground of malafide or irrelevant facts and there is no bar to judicial review.
Territorial Extent of proclamation- The president can make proclamation in respect of Whole of India or any part thereof.
Revocation of proclamation : A proclamation of emergency maybe revoked by President at any time by a subsequent proclamation if Lok Sabha passes resolution disapproving its continuous
Duration of emergency: At first instance, for one month and if proved by special majority by parliament, in force for a period of every 6 months unless revoked earlier.
Effects of National Emergency: These consequences can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Effect on Centre-State relations Executive (Article 353) Legislature (Article 353(b)) Financial (Article 354)
  2. Effect on life of Lok Sabha and state assembly (Article 83(2) i.e. life of lok sabha can be extended by president for one year at a time.
  3. Effect on Fundamental Rights (Article 358 , 359) i.e. suspension of rights provided under article 19 and suspension of other rights.

Declarations made so far:

State Emergency or President rule
State Emergency means failure in the constitutional machinery of the state. Article 355 makes the union’s duty to protect the states. It is the duty of union to protect every state against:
external aggression, internal disturbance, respecting constitutional provisions.

Article 356: State Emergency

The President of India has power to proclaim state emergency when he receives a report from the governor of that state or otherwise he himself is satisfied that the government of state cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution.
when constitution machinery of state collapse and government of the state is not able to carry on in accordance with Indian constitution, President of India can declare state emergency.
Grounds for President’s Rule
On receipt of report from governor of state The president is satisfied that state constitutional machinery has collapsed Centre’s directions are not followed by the state.
Revocation: Proclamation can be removed or varied by the president by subsequent proclamation at any time without any approval.

Duration of proclamation:

If proclamation is a proved by parliament by simple majority it will remain in operation for 6 months. Duration can be extended by every 6 month by parliamentary approval but it cannot remain in Force for more than 3 years.
44th Constitutional Amendment to the constitution made it clear that Sate emergency can be challenged to judicial review.
S.R. Bommai versus Union of India, A nine judge bench of Supreme Court held that the dismissal of government in Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan in wake of Ayodhya incident of December 6 1992 was valid and imposition of president rule in these States was constitutional. It was held that in matters of religion, the state has no place. No political party can simultaneously be a religious Party as well as political party.

Proclamation made so far:

President’s rule is imposed 126 times till now. Out of which 88 were under Congress rule. President rule was imposed 63 times in 20 years between 1971 to 1990. Between 1991 to 1992 it was used 9 times and between 2011 to 2016 it has been used five times. In Jammu and Kashmir president rule has been held for the longest duration that is 6 years 264 days from 6 from 19 January 1990 to 9 October 1996.
Consequences of President’s rule:

  1. The president acquires extraordinary powers when presidents rule is imposed in a state.
  2. He can take up the functions of State Government and powers vested in Governor or any other executive authority in the state.
  3. He can declare that the powers of state legislature are to be exercise by parliament.
  4. Every money bill is first refered to the Parliament for a proverb however state High Court functions independently in such situation.

Financial Emergency : Article 360

Article 360 deals with provisions as to financial emergency. Financial emergency is imposed by the president when there arises any situation which causes financial threat to India or any part of India.
Grounds of declaration
Article 360 empower the President to proclaim financial emergency if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen due to which stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened.
A proclamation declaring financial emergency must be approved by both the houses of Parliament within 2 months from the date of issue.
Once approved by both the houses, Financial emergency continuous indefinitely tell it is revoked.
Effect of financial emergency :

  1. Extension of executive authority of union over financial matters of State.
  2. Reduction of salaries and allowances of all are any class of persons serving in the state.
  3. Reservation of all money bills or other financial bills for the consideration of the President after they are passed by the legislature of the state.
  4. Direction from president for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving the union and judges of supreme court and high court.

Proclamation made so far:

No financial emergency has been imposed so far, in India. However in 1990 the possibility of financial emergency emerged but the situation was controlled by Indian government as in July 1991, the Reserve Bank of India pledged 46.91 tonnes of gold with Bank of England and Union Bank of Switzerland to raise 400 million dollars.

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