What are types of emergencies?

Q.  Which of the following is/are true?

1) Part 20 deals with emergency provisions.
2) An Emergency, converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution.

- Published on 27 Feb 17

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. None of the above

ANSWER: Only 2
  • The Emergency provisions are contained in Part XVIII of the Constitution, from Articles 352 to 360.

  • These provisions enable the Central government to meet any abnormal situation effectively.

  • The rationality behind the incorporation of these provisions in the Constitution is to safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country, the democratic political system, and the Constitution.

  • During an Emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre.

  • It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution.

  • This kind of transformation of the political system from federal during normal times to unitary during Emergency is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution.

  • In this context, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar observed in the Constituent Assembly that - India can be both unitary as well as federal according to the requirements of time and circumstances. In normal times, it is framed to work as a federal system. But in times of Emergency, it is so designed as to make it work as though it was a unitary system.

  • The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies -

    1. National Emergency - An emergency due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion2 (Article 352). However, the Constitution employs the expression ‘proclamation of emergency’ to denote an emergency of this type.

    2. President’s Rule - An Emergency due to the failure of the constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356). It is also known by two other names - ‘State Emergency’ or ‘constitutional Emergency’. However, the Constitution does not use the word ‘emergency’ for this situation.

    3. Financial Emergency - due to a threat to the financial stability or credit of India (Article 360).

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