What are grounds for declaring National Emergency?
Q. Which of the following is/are true?
1) President can declare internal emergency on grounds of internal disturbance.
2) The President can proclaim a national emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the cabinet.
3) The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 enabled the president to limit the operation of a National Emergency to a specified part of India.
4) President can declare a national emergency even before the actual occurrence of war or external aggression.- Published on 27 Feb 17
a. 1, 3, 4
b. 2, 3, 4
c. 1, 2, 4
d. 1, 2, 3
ANSWER: 2, 3, 4
- Under Article 352, the President can declare a national emergency when the security of India or a part of it is threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.
- It may be noted that the president can declare a national emergency even before the actual occurrence of war or external aggression or armed rebellion, if he is satisfied that there is an imminent danger.
- The President can also issue different proclamations on grounds of war, external aggression, armed rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, whether or not there is a proclamation already issued by him and such proclamation is in operation.
- This provision was added by the 38th Amendment Act of 1975.
- When a national emergency is declared on the ground of ‘war’ or ‘external aggression’, it is known as ‘External Emergency’.
- On the other hand, when it is declared on the ground of ‘armed rebellion’, it is known as ‘Internal Emergency’.
- A proclamation of national emergency may be applicable to the entire country or only a part of it.
- The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 enabled the president to limit the operation of a National Emergency to a specified part of India.
- Originally, the Constitution mentioned ‘internal disturbance’ as the third ground for the proclamation of a National Emergency, but the expression was too vague and had a wider connotation.
- Hence, the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 substituted the words ‘armed rebellion’ for ‘internal disturbance’.
- Thus, it is no longer possible to declare a National Emergency on the ground of ‘internal disturbance’ as was done in 1975 by the Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi.
- The President, however, can proclaim a national emergency only after receiving a written recommendation from the cabinet.
- This means that the emergency can be declared only on the concurrence of the cabinet and not merely on the advice of the prime minister.
- Cabinet as per Article 352 includes the PM and council of ministers.
- In 1975, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi advised the president to proclaim emergency without consulting her cabinet.
- The cabinet was informed of the proclamation after it was made, as a fait accompli.
- The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced this safeguard to eliminate any possibility of the prime minister alone taking a decision in this regard.
- The 38th Amendment Act of 1975 made the declaration of a National Emergency immune from the judicial review.
- But, this provision was subsequently deleted by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.
- Further, in the Minerva Mills case4, (1980), the Supreme Court held that the proclamation of a national emergency can be challenged in a court on the ground of malafide or that the declaration was based on wholly extraneous and irrelevant facts or is absurd or perverse.