What is the state of emergency?
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale for suspending rights and freedoms, even if guaranteed under the constitution. In some countries, the state of emergency and its effects on human rights and freedoms and governmental procedure are regulated by the constitution and/or a law that limits the powers that may be invoked. Rights and freedoms may be suspended during an emergency, for instance, freedom of movement, but not non-derogable rights. In many countries it is illegal to modify the emergency law or the constitution during the emergency. Though fairly uncommon in democracies, dictatorial regimes often declare a state of emergency that is prolonged indefinitely for the life of the regime. “The power to decide the initiation of the state of emergency defines sovereignty itself” * Carl Schmitt
State of Emergency in India
National emergency is caused by war, external aggression or armed rebellion in the whole of India or a part of its territory. The President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within one month. This kind of an emergency can be imposed for six months. It can be extended by six months by repeated parliamentary approval. In such an emergency, Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens can be suspended. The six freedoms under Right to Freedom are automatically suspended. However, the Right to Life and Personal Liberty cannot be suspended according to the original Constitution. It modifies the federal system of government to a unitary one. Such an emergency was declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. Indira...
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