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Emergency Provisions: Union and the States

A state of emergency in India is a situation when the government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it is not allowed to in normal situations. Study this study material on emergency provision UPSC.

India is a federal republic that possesses unitary functionality in a state of emergency.    This means when there is a national emergency situation, this constitutional apparatus disintegrates and all the states function as one. Emergency provisions are included in Articles 352-360. All the fundamental rights except those mentioned in Articles 20 and 21 cease to operate in a state of emergency. The word emergency describes any unexpected situation and causes authorities to act rapidly. The way federalism works in an emergency is a critical aspect of the Constitution of India. This article will further elaborate upon the emergency provisions in the Indian constitution. 

Origin And History Of The Emergency Clause 

A national emergency is declared under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution in India. Before the 44th Amendment Act, Article 352 of the Constitution stated that the President of the country could declare a state of emergency if they were satisfied with the continuity of a grave threat to the security of the entire country or territory of India, whether caused by war, external aggression, or unfortunate events.

Before the 44th Amendment, Article 352 was somewhat ambiguous and arbitrary. It vested far too much power in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. As a result, when the Janata Dal Alliance took power, it decided to implement the 44th amendment to set right Article 352 and make it more accountable.

What is the 44th amendment?

   The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 safeguards against the tendency of the temporary majority to seize fundamental rights of citizens in future. The Janta Party enacted this amendment.     This act promises the constitution to evolve. After the 44th amendment, under the present article 352, the president is allowed to call for an emergency if the president and the ministers confirm the crisis and present it to the president.     The article 74 of the republic of India provides the president with a council of ministers which helps the president to exercise his functions.     If the Cabinet and the Prime Minister send the emergency proposal again, the President should approve and declare an emergency. Unlike 1975, the Prime Minister at present cannot deliberately declare an emergency without explaining his actions.    

Types Of Emergency In The Indian Constitution

   In a state of emergency, the state may override the various individual liberties and enforce the federal standards outlined in Part XVIII of the Constitution.

You will learn about three emergency provisions of UPSC that are from Article 352 to Article 360 of the Indian Constitution. 

  • National Emergency
  • State Emergency
  • Financial Emergency 

National Emergency

A national emergency is declared when there is a grave threat to India’s or any of its territories’ security due to war, external aggression, or armed rebellion. The national emergency is a part of Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. 

The President has to approve and announce an emergency if the council of ministers, led by the Prime Minister, sends a written request.

Every proclamation must be laid before each House of Parliament, within one month after it is issued; in the meantime, the proclamation may continue for six months unless revoked by the President.

According to the emergency provisions, the centre retains executive, legislative, and financial power while the state legislature is not suspended. Under Article 250 of the Constitution, the union government can legislate on subjects enumerated in the state list. 

As per the emergency provisions, the President has the authority to suspend the right to petition the courts to enforce fundamental rights under Article 359.

State Emergency

It is the responsibility of the Union government to ensure that the state government acts according to the constitution. Article 356 states that if the President is satisfied, based on a briefing from the Governor of the State and other factors, that a state government cannot function smoothly, the President may declare a state of emergency. 

Procedure for lifting the state of emergency

A subsequent proclamation can repeal or modify any such statement. A proclamation issued in line with Article 356(1) has the following expiration dates:

  • Unless both Houses of Parliament accept it within two months of its creation [Article 356(3)].
  • If neither House receives consent within two months of the proclamation being sent to the Houses of Parliament [Article 356(3)], the declaration is null and void.
  •     Article 356 gives powers to the government of India to exercise its control over a state if an emergency occurs, the state government has no authority to stop the union government. 

Financial Emergency

If the President believes that a situation has arisen that threatens financial stability or credit of India, or any part of its territory, he may proclaim a financial emergency.

A simple majority must declare a financial emergency in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. This majority of votes should occur within two months of its issuance. If the Lok Sabha is dissolved, the Rajya Sabha may approve it, but the Lok Sabha must approve it within 30 days of its reconstitution.

Consequences of financial emergency:

  • The Union gains the authority to issue financial instructions to the states based on its policies.
  • The President has the authority to direct the states to limit the salaries and allowances of government employees.
  • Money bills and other financial bills that have passed through the state legislature can be reserved for review by the President.
  • The President can order salary and allowance reductions for Central Government employees, including Supreme Court and High Court judges.


Emergency provisions are a vital part of the Constitution of India, and they give a massive amount of responsibility and power to the hands of the executive. A check and balance system can ensure no misuse of power like in 1975.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

How many times was the state of emergency declared in India?

Ans. In the history of India, the state of emergency was declared three times. The first instance was in 1962-1968. ...Read full

What does Article 356 of the constitution state?

Ans. Article 356 states that if a state cannot function according to constitut...Read full

Which fundamental rights are suspended in case of an emergency?

Ans. Under the emergency provisions in the Indian constitution, All the fundam...Read full

Who introduced the 44th amendment?

Ans. Shanti Bhushan, the minister of law, introduced the 44th amendment in 1978.