National emergency is caused by war, external aggression or armed rebellion in the whole of India or a part of its territory. Such an emergency was declared in India in 1962 (Indo-China war), 1971 (Indo-Pakistan war), 1975 to 1977 (declared by Indira Gandhi on account of “internal disturbance”).
Under Article 352 of the India Constitution, the President can declare such an emergency only on the basis of a written request by the Cabinet Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Such a proclamation must be approved by the Parliament within one month. Such an emergency can be imposed for six months. It can be extended by six months by repeated parliamentary approval, up to a maximum of three years.
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 (Article 21)
The Parliament can make laws on the 66 subjects of the State List (which contains subjects on which the state governments can make laws). Also, all money bills are referred to the Parliament for its approval. The term of the Lok Sabha can be extended by a period of up to one year, but not so as to extend the term of Parliament beyond six months after the end of the declared emergency.
Under Article 352, the president can declare a national emergency when the security of India or a part of it is threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.
The President can declare a national emergency even before the actual occurrence of war or armed rebellion or external aggression
When a national emergency is declared on the grounds of ‘war’ or ‘external aggression’, it is known as ‘External Emergency’. On the other hand, when it is declared on the grounds of ‘armed rebellion’, it is known as ‘Internal Emergency’.
This term ‘armed rebellion’ was inserted from the 44th amendment. Before this term it was known as internal disturbance.