What is a National Emergency?
It is in the air that a National Emergency may be announced, one may call it gossip or a logical outcome of the current crisis challenging not just India but the world at large. But after the US President Donald Trump announced a national emergency for the United States, the focus is slowly shifting to many other countries on an impending and similar announcement. But can India be really placed under an Emergency? Let us look at the facts.
- Only the President of India can proclaim the State of Emergency.
- The President can’t do it on his own; he has to be guided by the houses of Parliament in this matter.
- The President must get a written request from the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.
- National Emergency can be proclaimed under provisions of Article 352 read alongside the 44th Amendment Act 1978.
- In India, National Emergency can be declared only under the following circumstances:
– External Aggression or War
– Armed Rebellion
- Technically India is not at war and neither there is an Armed Rebellion.
Constitutionally, India can’t be placed under External or Internal Emergency based on COVID-19.
However, if an amendment is passed in the Parliament and a Health Emergency be included as a provision, the same can be considered by the President after the recommendation of the Cabinet.