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When can national emergency be imposed under the Indian Constitution? ...

  Dec 18, 2016

When can national emergency be imposed under the Indian Constitution? Do you think Art.352 can be invoked in the present day world?

National emergency can be declared when there is a threat to national security due to external aggression or war or armed rebellion. It was declared thrice so far- 1962, 1971 and 1975. National Emergency can be declared again if a threat occurs to national security. It may happen from external sources or from inside the country. However, according to many, the invocation of Art.352 (National Emergency) in 1975 was avoidable. Its enforcement also left many democrats disappointed as democratic freedoms were unnecessarily suspended.
Following reasons make repetition of such miscarriage difficult:
  • Constitution has been comprehensively amended to prevent misuse of powers by the 44th Amendment Act
  • Judicial review powers have been strengthened by making it mandatory that the Union Cabinet in writing should recommend the imposition
  • President of India also may assert his power  under Art.74
  • Parliament is given special powers in terms of majority required to ratify the imposition- special majority
  • Lok Sabha may initiate its revocation
  • Civil society is strong
  • Global pressures may mount unlike last occasion when India was not globalized
  • Social media and public opinion are very effective in enforcing  responsive governance
  • Lessons have been learnt from the past experience