26 June 1975 – 21 March 1977 is known as the black period of India. On that day, our former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared an Emergency on the All India Radio program. However this Emergency decision, she took to retain her political career. But this decision yielded so many serious consequences, due to which she had to lose her political power after the Emergency was over.
Today we will have a look at the reason why the Emergency was brought to India.
Why we need Emergency Constitution? :
The emergency is an amended constitutional setup, proclaimed by the President of India when he recognizes a grave threat to the nation from internal or external sources. According to the former Indian constitution Article 352- 360 of Part 18, which we acquire from Germany, mentions that to preserve the sovereignty, unity, security, and integrity of the nation during any unpredictable and unusual circumstances, instance decision may be required. That time Central government will be in action without passing any bill in parliament and the Unitary nature of the state of invoked and the federal system becomes weaker.
Types of Emergency in Indian Constitution:
Three types of Emergencies are mentioned in the Indian Constitution.
- National Emergency ( Article 352)
- President’s Rule ( Article 356)
- Financial Emergency ( Article 360)
1. Proclamation of National Emergency ( Article 352) in India:
It can be declared in case of War, external threats, armed rebellion(internal disturbance), and Imminent threat.
2. Proclamation of President’s Rule:
When a system fails in the state or state fails to comply with the direction of the Central Government.
3. Financial Emergency ( Article 360):
It is proclaimed in case of a predictable threat to the financial stability or credit of India.
However, The National Emergency has been proclaimed in India three times:
> 1962 and 1968- During India-China and India-Pakistan war ( external disturbances)
> 1971 Indo-Pak war ( external disturbances )
> 1975 Indira Gandhi( internal disturbances )
And the proclamation of National Emergency is made by the President of India. Now, according to the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act 1978, the President may require the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice.
44th Constitutional Amendment Act 1978:
According to the amendment act, Bill in parliament should be passed by a special majority to impose an Emergency in the country in 30 days.
After 6 months, it should be again approved by a parliamentary special majority in case of extension and it can be continued infinitely time. Proclamation and procedures of the Emergency Bill fall under judicial review. Emergency in-country can be removed by the President or Simple majority of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at any time. 44th CA makes it difficult to impose but easier to revoke.
what is new in the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act:
1. Previously for Internal disturbances. But now for armed rebellion.
2. Need of written advice by the parliamentary cabinet.
3. Previously requirement of a simple majority. But now the requirement of the special majority of cabinet
4. In case of Emergency, Article 19 can be suspended but in case of war and external aggression can be suspended.
5. Articles 20 and 21 can never be suspended.
6. Previous approval for 1 year but now for 6 months only and after expiration government have to renew it.
Story of Emergency 26 June 1975 – 21 March 1977:
During that time, Congress was in power in India but some other parties also emerging like Janata Dal which was led by Indian freedom fighters and politician Raj Narain, who was previously part of Congress. In 1971, Raj Narain stood for election against Indira Gandhi but somehow Indira Gandhi won the election.
After that, Raj Narain filed the case against Indira Gandhi for electoral malpractice in Allahabad High Court which led to convicted her and disqualification from the Prime Minister position and invalidate her membership of Lok Sabha for 6 years by Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha.
And, according to our constitution, the Prime minister should be a member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
So, Indira Gandhi challenged the HC decision in the Supreme Court, where SC Justice VR Krishna Iyer on 24 June 1975 let her remain PM until the final verdict but did not confront the HC verdict for disqualifying her Lok Sabha membership and Government facility.
At that time, the JP movement and the Total revolution lead by Jayaprakash Narayan in Bihar and Nav Nirman Andolan in Gujarat by the student union were in peak.
This movement was run to demolish Indira’s anti-democratic activities however this protest was non-violent.
In this protest, Jaya Prakash Nayaran gave the slogan – give me one year to build a new country.
During this time, West Bengal minister, Siddharth Sankar advised Indira Gandhi for imposing an emergency. Then with the signature of President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, an Emergency was proclaimed and police and army were instigated to arrest JP, Morarji, Advani, Asoka Mehta, and Vajpayee.
Measures of Emergency’s:
1. All fundamental rights suspended ( including Article 20 and 21)
2. Subverted Judiciary power and transmitted.
3. The crackdown of almost all opposition political leaders.
4. The firing was happening in slum dwellers in Delhi.
5. Torture on political detainees who were against the Emergency ( like Subrahmanyam Swami flee to America)
6. Press and Media censorship and order to publish the news by crosschecking with the government.
7. Forced sterilization campaigns were run.
Forced Sterilization Program:
This campaign was suggested by Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency time to control the population of India. The negative side of this campaign is that this scheme was run forcefully and In India, more than 62 lakh people sterilized and 2000 people were killed by the wrong operation.
Sanjay Gandhi tried many ways for family planning but all gone failed then he got a chance in Emergency. And he wants to be an influential personality in India.
His campaign was compared to the Hitler campaign when he started in 1933 where all persons suffering from any genetic disorder, sterilized forcefully.
The emergency was revoked on 21 March 1977 under international and national pressure. After this election was done where congress lost the 1977 general election to the Janata Party of Morarji Desai.
Morarji constituted the Shah commission to analyze the condition, causes, and actions taken during an Emergency. He also passed the bill for amending the 44th Constitutional Bill and the Right to Protection in respect of conviction for offenses (Article 20) and the Right to Life and Personal’s Liberty (Article 21) remain executable even during emergencies.
However, Congress had tried every possible way to retain its government but the action taken by them in Democratic countries changed the mind of people which led to the defeat of Congress after the Emergency.
Also visit – How Bangladesh was separated from Pakistan?