Comprehensive Essay on the Emergency Powers of the President of India

According to the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978, a proclamation of national emergency once approved by both Houses of Parliament, shall unless revoked, continue in force for a further period of six months.

It can be extended at six months interval by the approval of the both Houses of the Parliament, subject to no time limit. The following are the effects of proclamation of Emergency under Article 352.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

(i) The Union Parliament can legislate on any matter whether it is in the Union List or in the State List.

(ii) The Union Government may give any direction to any State as to the exercise of the executive powers of the State.

(iii) The President gets power to suspend the scheme of distribution of revenues between Union and States.

(iv) Article 19 dealing with Right to Freedom ceases to operate during the time of Emergency.

(v) By order of the President the Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32), i.e., the power of the citizen to move the Courts may be suspended.

Internal emergency was declared by Mrs. Indira Gandhi on 25th June, 1975 with a view to meeting the “climate of violence and hatred” which had allegedly “threatened the very unity and integrity of India and obstructed the radical socio-economic measures contemplated by her government”.

The Emergency was revoked after a lapse of 21 months on March 21, 1977. This emergency was in continuation of external emergency declared earlier. Its purpose was “to save democracy and to counter effectively the anti-national forces which sought to negate the very functioning of democracy and obstructed the march of the nation towards economic prosperity and well-being of man”.

Indiscriminate use of the needs elaboration, press censorship and other excesses committed during the emergency created a climate of fear in the country. It gave birth to the Janata Party-a new Party which came to power at the Centre after the Sixth Lok Sabha Election, 1977. The Janata Party had pledged to amend the Constitution in such a manner so that there is no chance of misuse of emergency power in future.

The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act passed during the Janata Government in 1978 has made provisions for various limitations on declaration of emergency. This Act provides that the President can sign proclamation of national emergency only on the written advice of the Cabinet as a whole.

It implies that the Prime Minister cannot alone advise the President to proclaim emergency. A further safeguard is that such a proclamation would have to be ratified by the Parliament within one month and by the same majority as is required, for the amendment of the constitution.

Besides, the Lok Sabha is empowered to pass a resolution to end an emergency at any time it likes. The 44th Amendment Act also provides that national emergency can only be declared on the ground of “external aggression or armed rebellion”. These are some of the safeguards against the misuse of emergency powers.

2. Emergency due to failure of Constitutional Machinery of States (Article 356) or President’s Rule

Article 356 of the Constitution provides that if the President, “on receipt of a report from the Governor of a State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with ‘be provisions of the Constitution”, he is empowered to proclaim Emergency in that State.

This is otherwise known as the President’s Rule (Or the Emergency which arises due to failure of Constitutional Machinery in any State). The word “otherwise” in Article 356 implies that even if the President does not receive any such report from the Governor of the State, he may declare Emergency with the information from some other sources.

Such Emergency is to be approved by each House of Parliament within two months in the same manner in which the proclamation of the National Emergency is approved. But after it has been approved by the Parliament, it normally remains in force for six months.

However, it can be extended for another six months by a resolution of the Parliament subject to a maximum period of three years. In other words, the President’s Rule in a State can remain valid for maximum period of three years at a stretch. The following are the effects of Emergency under Article 356:

(i) All functions of the State Government except that of the State High Court are taken over by the President. Hence it is known as the “President’s Rule”.

(ii) All the powers of the State Legislative Assembly are exercised by the Union Parliament.

(iii) The President may assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State or he may vest all or any of those functions in the Governor or any other executive authority.

(iv)The Parliament may also delegate some of its powers to President for the management of the constitutional machinery of that State.

3. Financial Emergency (Article 360)

The third type of Emergency is Financial Emergency promulgated under Article 360 of the Constitution. If the President is satisfied that the situation has arisen whereby the financial stability of India or any part of territory thereof is threatened, he may proclaim Financial Emergency.

During the Financial Emergency “the executive authority of the Union shall extend to the giving of directions to any State to observe such canons of financial propriety as may be specified in the directions and to the giving of such other directions as the President may deem necessary and adequate for the purpose” (Article 360).

The proclamation of the financial emergency will expire at the end of two months unless it is approved by the Parliament. Once it is approved, it continues till it is revoked by the President. Like the other two emergencies the financial emergency has no time limit. The declaration of this emergency does not lead to suspension of Fundamental Rights. The following are effects of Financial Emergency:-

(i) The President may give direction to any State to observe certain principles of economy in public expenditure;

(ii) Salary of any Union or State Government servants may be reduced. Even the salary of the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts may be reduced during such an emergency.

(iii) Money Bills of the State Legislature may be reserved for the President’s assent.

(iv)The allocation of revenue between the Centre and the State may be altered by the President. In short, he may take any other steps necessary for the restoration of financial stability of the country. No use of Article 360 has been made till today.

x

Hi!
I'm Eddie!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out