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  • National emergency can be declared on the basis of external aggression or armed rebellion in the whole of India or a part of its territory. Such an emergency was declared in India in 1962 (China war), 1971 (Pakistan war), and 1975 (declared by Indira Gandhi). The President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be laid before both houses of Parliament, and the state of emergency expires after one month unless approved within that time by both houses sitting and voting separately.
  • During a national emergency, many Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens can be suspended. The six freedoms under Right to Freedom are automatically suspended. By contrast, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty cannot be suspended according to the original Constitution.
  • National emergency can be declared by the President of India if he is satisfied that the situation is very serious and the security of India or any part thereof is threatened or is likely to be threatened.
  • In January 1977, during the emergency declared controversially by Indira Gandhi, the government decided to suspend even the Right to Life and Personal Liberty by dispensing with Habeas corpus
  • National Emergency has been declared three times.
S.No
Date and Year
Emergency
Prime Minister
Reason
1
October 26, (1962-1968)
India - China War
Indira Gandhi
China attacked our borders in the North East. This National Emergency lasted till 10 January 1968.
2
December 3, (1971-1977)
India - Pakistan War
Indira Gandhi
After partition the East Wing of Bengal had joined Pakistan as East Pakistan and between the two parts of Pakistan was about 1200 miles of Indian Territory. Also, Pakistan’s military government did not pay much attention to East Pakistan and Urdu was imposed upon it. The immediate source of conflict was denial of the office of Premier to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of East Bengal whose party had won 160 out of 300 seats in the 1970 elections. Pakistani leader Z.A Bhutto and President Yahya Khan denied rights to East Bengal.
3
June 25, (1975-1977)
Internal Emergency
Indira Gandhi
Strikes and protests everywhere and the rise of a political opposition were responsible for the economic tumble.
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1. What is a national emergency?
Ans. A national emergency is a situation in which a country faces a crisis or threat that poses a significant risk to its citizens, security, or economy. It allows the government to take extraordinary measures and exercise special powers to address the emergency effectively.
2. How is a national emergency declared?
Ans. A national emergency is typically declared by the head of state or government, such as the president or prime minister, through an official proclamation or declaration. The declaration may be based on various factors, including natural disasters, armed conflicts, public health crises, or threats to national security.
3. What powers does the government have during a national emergency?
Ans. During a national emergency, the government may be granted certain powers to respond effectively to the crisis. These powers can include the ability to mobilize resources, implement emergency measures, restrict movement or activities, allocate funds, and suspend certain legal provisions to ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens.
4. Can a national emergency declaration be challenged or revoked?
Ans. Yes, a national emergency declaration can be challenged or revoked through various legal or political mechanisms. In some countries, the declaration may be subject to judicial review, allowing individuals or organizations to challenge its legality. Additionally, the legislature or governing body may have the power to revoke or modify the declaration through legislative processes or parliamentary votes.
5. How long does a national emergency last?
Ans. The duration of a national emergency can vary depending on the specific circumstances and legal framework of each country. In some cases, it may be explicitly defined in the declaration itself, specifying an end date or condition for termination. In other cases, the government may have the authority to extend or terminate the emergency based on an ongoing assessment of the situation and the effectiveness of the measures implemented.
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