Overview Of The Emergency In India In 1975

3259 words - 13 pages

Over the past 64 years of the Indian republic, the nation has witnessed many strange events. Ranging from the Legislature vs Judiciary debate of the 1970s to the secessionist movements in the North-east, challenges to the functioning of world’s largest democracy have been myriad. Emergencies form a significant part of it. Apart from the infamous proclamation of National Emergency of 1975, there are also numerous occasions when the misuse of State Emergency has been done. The emergency provisions in our constitution are inherited from its preceding document, the Government of India Act of 1935. In addition to that the provision for suspending Fundamental Rights of the citizen during Emergency has been taken from the Weimar Constitution of Germany. Part 18 (Art. 352-360) of the constitution enumerates 3 kinds of Emergency – National, State and Financial Emergency. This paper is intended to analyse the use and abuse of various National Emergency provisions in the Indian Constitution with special reference to 1975 National Emergency. A historical account of National Emergency will also be analysed. Was the rationale behind the declaration of National Emergency in 1975 justified? Is there any difference between an authoritarian government and a parliamentary democracy where a single party has an overwhelming majority in both the houses? The special case of article 358 will also be examined. These will be the questions that this paper will try to answer.
What usually Happens during National Emergency?
Emergency is an extraordinary situation in which the state cannot function normally. The state will not be able to discharge its responsibilities, like in the normal circumstances. A tighter executive control on the state is required. So, during National Emergency, the federal distribution of power remains practically suspended. Technically, India becomes a unitary state. The entire nation comes under the Union government. Union will be the final authority in the financial, legislative and administrative functions of the Nation. The state governments work strictly in accordance with the directions given by the Union. In fact, the Union can give direction to the states on any matter during an Emergency. Article 352 of the constitution authorizes the President to declare National Emergency if he is satisfied that ‘the security of India or any part is threatened due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion’. It can be even before the actual occurrence of such an event (Basu 2011, 357). The 42nd amendment made the proclamation immune to judicial review. But, this has been removed by the 44th amendment. So, now the constitutionality of such a proclamation can be questioned in a court of law on the ground of mala fides (bad faith). However, this proclamation must be approved by 2/3 majority of either both the Houses or only the Rajya Sabha (if the Lower House is not in session) within 1 month from the date of issue. If it is approved, the proclamation...

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