What are effects of National Emergency on Centre-State relations?

Q.  Which of the following is/are true regarding effects of National Emergency on Centre-State relations?

1) During normal times the President has power to give directions to the states on all the matters.
2) During emergency,legislative power of state legislature is suspended.
3) During emergency, the President can issue ordinances on the state subjects.
4) During emergency, President may modify distribution of financial resources between the center and the state.

- Published on 27 Feb 17

a. 1, 3
b. 2, 3, 4
c. 1, 3, 4
d. 1, 2

ANSWER: 1, 3, 4
  • While a proclamation of Emergency is in force, the normal fabric of the Centre–state relations undergoes a basic change.
  • This can be studied under three sections, executive, legislative and financial.

  • Executive -

  • During a national emergency, the executive power of the Centre extends to directing any state regarding the manner in which its executive power is to be exercised.

  • In normal times, the Centre can give executive directions to a state only on certain specified matters.

  • However, during a national emergency, the Centre becomes entitled to give executive directions to a state on ‘any’ matter.

  • Thus, the state governments are brought under the complete control of the Centre, though they are not suspended.

  • Legislative -

  • During a national emergency, the Parliament becomes empowered to make laws on any subject mentioned in the State List.

  • Although the legislative power of a state legislature is not suspended, it becomes subject to the overriding power of the Parliament.

  • Thus, the normal distribution of the legislative powers between the Centre and states is suspended, though the state Legislatures are not suspended.

  • In brief, the Constitution becomes unitary rather than federal.

  • The laws made by Parliament on the state subjects during a National Emergency become inoperative six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.

  • Notably, while a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the President can issue ordinances on the state subjects also, if the Parliament is not in session.

  • Further, the Parliament can confer powers and impose duties upon the Centre or its officers and authorities in respect of matters outside the Union List, in order to carry out the laws made by it under its extended jurisdiction as a result of the proclamation of a National Emergency.

  • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 provided that the two consequences mentioned above (executive and legislative) extends not only to a state where the Emergency is in operation but also to any other state.

  • Financial -

  • While a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the President can modify the constitutional distribution of revenues between the centre and the states.

  • This means that the president can either reduce or cancel the transfer of finances from Centre to the states.

  • Such modification continues till the end of the financial year in which the Emergency ceases to operate.

  • Also, every such order of the President has to be laid before both the Houses of Parliament.

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