Emergency Powers of the President

Emergency Powers of the President – The President can declare an emergency in the following cases:

  • National Emergency: If there is danger to the peace and security of the nation because of foreign aggression, civil war or insurgency.
  • Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery: Emergency can be proclaimed in the state if the constitutional machinery of the state breaks down.
  • Financial Emergency: If the financial stability or the credit of the country is threatened.

National or General Emergency Powers of the President

  • Emergency can be declared if the President feels that the security of India is under threat either because of foreign aggression, civil war or armed rebellion.
  • National emergency should be approved by both Houses of the Parliament within one month by special majority.
  • The emergency cannot continue for more than one month. If the Lok Sabha does not approve the Proclamation of Emergency, the President has to annul his Proclamation.

Effects of National Emergency

  • During a national emergency, the fundamental rights of the people are partially or wholly suspended. No person can move to the court for the enforcement of any rights except Articles 20 and 21.
  • The states have to work according to the instructions of the central government and the country assumes unitary character.
  • The central government may alter the distribution of revenues between the centre and the state and the salaries of parliamentarians can be reduced.
  • The term of the Lok Sabha may be increased by a year during an emergency.
  • National emergency was declared for the first time on 26 October 1962 when China launched an attack on India. Again, it was proclaimed on 3 December 1971 because of the threat caused by Pakistan’s army.

Emergency Caused by Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery

  • The Constitutional Emergency can be promulgated if the President receives reports from the Governor stating the inability of the state government to function according to the provisions of the Constitution.
  • Under such circumstances, President’s rule is imposed in the state.
  • The duration of such an emergency is two months. In case the duration has to be increased, it has to be ratified by the Parliament. President’s rule in the state can continue for a year.

Effects of Emergency in the State

  • The administration of the state is carried out by the President, and the Governor has to follow the instructions of the Union Government.
  • The President may dissolve the Lok Sabha and dismiss the Council of Ministers.
  • The Parliament may pass laws even on subjects listed on the State List.
  • When the Lok Sabha is not in session, the President may authorize expenditures out of the Consolidated Fund of the State.
  • President’s rule was proclaimed for the first time in Punjab in 1951.

Financial Emergency Powers of the President

  • The President can declare financial emergency if he feels that the financial credibility or stability of the nation is in danger.
  • Such an emergency is valid for two months unless it is further ratified by the Parliament.

Effects of Financial Emergency in the State

  • The President appoints a Finance Commission to suggest ways to improve the financial condition of the country.
  • The salaries and allowances of the government officers can be reduced by the President.
  • All money bills passed by the Lok Sabha have to be submitted to the President for his approval.
  • The President can issue instructions to the States in regard to the use of funds.
  • Financial emergency has never been declared in the state.

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