Who Declares Martial Law?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Martial law is declared by the government in any area within the territory of India under Article 34 of the Indian Constitution. The Indian constitution makes no specific reference to or definition of martial law. Additionally, there is no such clause giving any executive the power to impose martial law.

Declaration of Martial law in the Indian Constitution

Martial law means temporarily vesting all the powers in the military to govern the state/nation in times of natural disaster, war, or rebellion. During this time, civilian rule is replaced by military rule, and the military commander has all the power to either revoke or invoke any law. It is basically imposing military control of the regular civil functions in case of an emergency by a government such as rebellion, war, coup, etc.

  • There is no specific definition of martial law in India’s constitution. It is an extreme measure that can only be taken in times of civil unrest.
  • It is only mentioned once that Article 34 allows for the declaration of martial law anywhere in the territory of India.
  • There is no such mention or provision in the Constitution regarding the executive who has the power to impose martial law.
  • Also, there is a clause in Article 34 that allows Parliament to award compensation to a government employee or to anyone else involved in restoring or maintaining law and order in a region where martial law has been imposed.

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