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National Emergency

Date: 09 March 2021 Tags: Constitution


Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said that the Emergency imposed in 1975 by then PM Indira Gandhi was a mistake.



Many Congress leaders have refused to comment on the issue but several others including Pranab Mukherjee have spoken on the issue.



  • Emergency is a condition in which the federal nature of constitution becomes unilateral. The President of India takes administration into his own hands to address a precarious situation.

  • Under Article 352, National Emergency can only be declared on two grounds: External Emergency (External aggression or war) & Internal Emergency (armed rebellion).


Emergency provisions

  • The President can declare emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. 

  • It should be approved by both the houses of the Parliament within one month with a special majority.

  • If Lok Sabha has been dissolved during that period, approval time extends upto 30 days from constitution of new Lok Sabha.

  • The emergency can be extended indefinitely but has to be approved every six months by the Parliament.

  • The term of Lok Sabha can be extended indefinitely one year at a time until emergency exists.


Withdrawing emergency

  • The President can withdraw emergency at any time if he considers situation as appropriate.

  • The President has to withdraw emergency if Lok Sabha passes a resolution for its withdrawal with a simple majority.


Emergency and Fundamental rights

  • Fundamental rights under the constitution, except Article 21 and 22 can be suspended during internal emergency.

  • Article 358 comes into action once external emergency is imposed. Under Article 358, six fundamental rights under Article 19 get automatically suspended.

  • Article 359 is triggered when internal emergency is imposed by the President. Except Article 21 and Article 22, all other fundamental rights can be suspended.

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