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Would emergency powers make the President a dictator ? Analyze the statement with reference to the emergency powers of the Indian President

By   August 1, 2022

Question : “Would emergency powers make the President a dictator ?” Analyze the statement with reference to the emergency powers of the Indian President.

Answer : Under Articles 352, 356 and 360 of Indian constitution some emergency powers are given to President of India but these powers are under some limitations so these powers do not make President a dictator even these powers make India united.

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Emergency Powers of the President :
1. Article – 352 : If the President is satisfied that the security of India or any part of its Indian territory is in danger due to any type of war , external aggression or armed rebellion (previously internal disturbance before amendment), President can impose emergency.

2. Article-356 – If the President is satisfied (through the Governor or other means that the Government of the any State of India cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the President can dismiss the Council of Ministers of that State and can impose emergency in the state.

3. Article 360 : If the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen due to which the financial stability of India is threatened, then President can declare a financial emergency in the country. In india financial emergency under Article 360 never declared till now.

But the President is not the real exerciser of all these powers. Due to constitutional provisions and conventions , the President cannot exercise these powers according to his discretion , such as :

• National emergency can be declared only on the basis of written recommendation of the cabinet. Also, it needs to be passed by both the Houses of Parliament with a special majority’ within a month. (Article – 352 emergency power)

• President’s rule is usually declared on the basis of the report of the governor and can be judicially reviewed by the court. If President’s rule is imposed maliciously, the court can re-establish the State Legislative Assembly and the Council of Ministers. Also, the proclamation of President’s rule is required to be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months. (Article – 356 emergency power)

• Similarly, the declaration of financial emergency needs approval from the Parliament within two months and this power is not beyond judicial review.  (Article – 360 emergency power)

Therefore, the President of India can never become a dictator on the basis of emergency powers. As the head of state he is a symbol of respect not of power. The emergency powers are known by the name of president of India but he/she can not use them by itself.