National Emergency refers to a situation where there is an instability in the environment in the country. According to the Constitution of India, National Emergency is there is a grave circumstance on any of the three grounds, namely, war, external aggression or armed rebellion. If any of these three grounds are existing in the country or a part or territory of the country, National Emergency will apply to that territory. These grounds are capable of threatening the security of the nation.
It is important for the country to be protected and safeguarded from any threats that arise from war, external aggression and armed rebellions. Since these conditions do not exist in normal day to day life, special provisions must be introduced and implemented to cope with these aggravated circumstances.
Before the forty fourth amendment to the Constitution of India, internal disturbance was a ground of National Emergency. However, this ground was seemed to be used arbitrarily in earlier situations, due to which the ground of internal disturbance was struck down. There exists the ground of armed rebellion to aid the situations of a similar kind.
National Emergency is declared by the President of India. However, it is important to note that the National Emergency is to be initiated by the Cabinet Ministers in writing via a notice. The power of the executive is controlled in this manner. Another way of restricting the power of the executive is that the Parliament can disapprove of the National Emergency proclamation by one tenth of the House expressing this opinion resulting in a special sitting of the House with a special majority required.
The duration of National Emergency was initially two months and once approved by the Parliament, could continue indefinitely. However, a check on this power has been introduced due to which the duration of National Emergency is one month at the beginning. Further, the proclamation for National Emergency can be extended on approval of the Houses of the Parliament for six months. A further extension would require the approval by the Parliament again.
It is the duty of the Union or the Centre to protect the states. Hence, the federal structure of the country collapses for this purpose. All across the different countries of the world like the United States of America, Australia and so on, the same principle is followed. The Centre can intervene in the matters of the states according to this idea which is implemented in National Emergency.
Along with limiting the powers of the state, National Emergency also results in the restriction of fundamental rights of the people living in the states. Article 358 and Article 359 of the Constitution of India dictate that the fundamental rights can be curtailed. Article 19 the Constitution of India, that is, the fundamental freedoms, can be specifically restricted. However, Article 20 that is protections in conviction for offenses and Article 21 that is the Right to Life, cannot be suspended at any cost even during National Emergency. Further, Article 19 cannot be curtailed during the situation of armed rebellion.
This is the basic idea of National Emergency in India.
Tags : Constitution of India