What is the Meaning of National Emergency?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

National Emergency means a state of emergency in a country caused by a national or international threat to the country’s security. It is essentially a situation of national danger or disaster in which the government has certain powers that allow it to make decisions that are normally not permitted.

National Emergency Definition and Meaning

National Emergency can occur for a variety of reasons, including war threats, armed rebellion, or external aggression.

  • It is declared when there is a serious threat to the nation’s security from either domestic or external sources.
  • When the President deems it necessary, he or she may declare a state of emergency.
  • In this case, the government has the authority to suspend normal or regular constitutional procedures in order to regain control of the situation.
  • Article 352 allows for the declaration of a national emergency in the event of an external or internal threat, war, or armed rebellion.
  • The term “armed rebellion” was previously known as “internal disturbance,” which was later replaced by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978.

National Emergency in India

A state of national emergency was witnessed for a period of 21 months from 1975 to 1977 in Indian history. It was declared by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during her tenure. The reason was cited as ‘internal disturbance’ and it bestowed the PM with the power to rule by decree. This included the cancellation of elections and suspension of civil liberties.

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