Emergency 1975 was such an unexpected event that the people of that time could not even dream that their own government would do something like this, but it happened,

In this article, we will discuss the Emergency imposed by our then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in a simple and easy way in 1975 and try to understand its various important aspects.

And for better understanding of this topic you should read emergency provisions, link is here, just click and choose your desired topic related to it. [Click Here]

National Emergency and its provisions

President’s Rule, Provisions and the Bommai Case

emergency 1975
Emergency 1975 [image credit wikimedia]
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| background of Emergency 1975

Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ji died during his tenure itself (27 May 1964). After that Lal Bahadur Shastri ji comes as the second Prime Minister of India from 9 June 1964, but in an unfortunate incident he also dies (11 January 1966). Since the Lok Sabha elections are to be held in 1967 and the Congress is in majority, Indira Gandhi is made the Prime Minister for the remaining term .

After the election, Indira Gandhi becomes the Prime Minister again on March 4, 1967 and in this tenure she tries to increase her strength, tries to establish her identity as a good leader. Mrs. Gandhi is also successful in that to some extent because of her decisions, such as nationalizing the banks in July 1969 and abolishing the privy purse in September 1970, her stronghold among the disadvantaged sections – poor, dalits, women and minorities. Support ensured. However, Mrs. Gandhi’s decisions were challenged in the Supreme Court, many of which were overruled by the Supreme Court. Mrs. Gandhi was shocked by all this.

The next Lok Sabha elections were to be held in 1972, but Indira Gandhi dissolved the Lok Sabha and got the elections conducted in 1971 itself. This benefited them a lot, out of 518, they alone won 352 seats and came into the government with an unbroken majority.

This time she tried her strength and did almost everything that she wanted to do. Before the imposition of emergency in 1975, during 1971-75, he carried out all the changes which was working as a thorn in his way by continuously amending the constitution one after the other. During this, he amended the constitution 14 times. These constitutional amendments are as follows;

24th Constitutional Amendment

This amendment was to reverse the famous Golaknath case. In fact, the Golaknath case was related to the land which was acquired by the government so that the Zamindari system could be abolished, but the Supreme Court, while ruling on it in 1967, said that the government cannot do anything like this. And Indira Gandhi did not like this decision, that is why as soon as the government was formed in 1971, first of all, this decision of the Supreme Court was rejected. [Read the basic structure of the constitution to know in detail ]

25th Constitutional Amendment

In fact, in 1969, when Indira Gandhi nationalized 14 banks (i.e. took over and brought them under the control of the government), a person named RC Cooper challenged it in the Supreme Court . The decision of the Supreme Court went in favor of RC Cooper and once again Indira Gandhi got a setback. That is why in July 1971, by making the 25th Constitutional Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court overturned that case and by doing so legalized the nationalization of banks. [To understand in detail bank nationalization case must read]

26th Constitutional Amendment

At the time of independence, more than five and a half hundred princely states were merged in India. Only then could India become what it is today. These princely states were given privy purse (a kind of royal allowance) and certain privileges under Article 291 and Article 362 respectively. The 5000 rupees which were available annually at the time of independence in the name of privy purse had gone into lakhs in the 70s. From above, under Article 362, he also got the title of Raja. On the one hand, poverty was at its peak and on the other hand, these hundreds of princely states had to be given government money for free.

Indira Gandhi did not digest this thing and in September 1970, an order was issued by the President to abolish the privy purse and all the privileges. Some of these princely states challenged it in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court gave the decision in favor of these princely states. That is, Indira Gandhi was defeated again in a way.

That is why in July 1971, as soon as the government was formed, Articles 291 and 362 were removed from the constitution by making 26th constitutional amendment in the constitution. And got it written in Article 366(22) that now the son of the king will not be called the king but will be called the successor. In this way, the royal magnificence of the princely states, pride-o-shaukat and walking on elephants all came to an end.

27th Constitutional Amendment

Through this constitutional amendment, Mizoram was given the status of a union territory in December 1971, which also had a legislature. However, later in 1987, it was given full statehood. The point to be remembered here is that just after this in January 1972, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur were given statehood. The main reason behind this is considered to be the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and the refugee problem arising out of it. [Read the story of the formation of Indian states for specific information ]

Also Read Story of formation of indian states

28th Constitutional Amendment

The power to abolish or change some of the privileges that the civil servants appointed before independence was given to the Parliament through this constitutional amendment .

29th Constitutional Amendment

This is the same constitutional amendment, due to which the Kesavananda Bharati case was born. In fact, the land of Kesavananda Bharathi, the director of the Math in Kerala , was acquired under the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 . And this law was put in the 9th Schedule by the 29th Constitutional Amendment 1972 . (It was inserted in the Ninth Schedule so that the court could not review that law)

Kesavanand Bharti reached the Supreme Court regarding this matter and the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 became history. This is where the principle of the basic structure of the constitution came from. [Read the basic structure of the constitution to understand in detail ]

30th Constitutional Amendment

This constitutional amendment is related to the matter which appeals related to civil matters from the High Court can be sent to the Supreme Court. Earlier, where all the cases could be appealed from the High Court to the Supreme Court, now some condition has been added to it. To understand this in detail read Jurisdiction of Supreme Court . It is said that Mrs Gandhi had made this amendment to protect her son Sanjay Gandhi from the Supreme Court in connection with any crime.

31st Constitutional Amendment

The number of Lok Sabha seats in Parliament was increased from 525 to 545. This happened as a result of the creation of new states in North East India and the delimitation of 1971. Under this, amendments were made to Articles 81, 300 and 302.

32nd Constitutional Amendment

According to the aspiration of the people of Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh, special provision was made for their satisfaction. However, in 2014, Telangana was made a new state.

33rd Constitutional Amendment

Through this, by amending Article 101 and Article 190 , it was provided that the verification of resignations made by the members of Parliament and State Legislatures shall be done by the Presiding Officer and if the Presiding Officer feels that the resignation is not voluntary or genuine. So he will not accept such resignation.

34th Constitutional Amendment

Through this constitutional amendment, twenty Land Reforms and Land Tenure Acts of different states were inserted in the Ninth Schedule.

35th Constitutional Amendment

Earlier Sikkim was a separate country living under the protection of India. Through this constitutional amendment, in 1974, Sikkim was made an associate state of the Indian Union by abolishing the protection system. Its service conditions were made in the 10th Schedule and put in it.

36th Constitutional Amendment

Through this Amendment Act, Sikkim was given the status of a full-fledged state within the Indian Union in March 1975.

37th Constitutional Amendment

Through this, the Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers were arranged for the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh in May 1975.

Overall , after the formation of Indira Gandhi’s government in 1971, some of the constitutional amendments that have taken place, in most cases it appears as if they have done so for the fulfillment of their ambition. From this the nature of Indira Gandhi can be understood, what kind of person she was. Because usually there have not been so many amendments in the constitution, if we look at the ten-year tenure of Dr. Manmohan Singh, there have been hardly 7-8 amendments, while talking about the tenure of Mrs. Gandhi, by the time the Emergency 1975 ended (6 years). During the 19th constitutional amendment, the 42nd constitutional amendment was the same as writing the entire constitution.

Now let us understand what was the condition of the country between 1971 and 1975. Because from this the sentiment behind Indira Gandhi’s decision making can be understood.

| The situation of the country between 1971 and 1975 before the Emergency

At that time the condition of the country was not very good. The wars of 1962, 65 and 71 had spoiled the budget. Inflation suddenly went up, due to the occurrence of drought and famine in some states, further pressure was being put on the government. Gradually, the resentment among the people against the government also increased, which was visible through different protests. Some things had a very bad effect, such as –

1. refugee crisis

An estimated 10 million illegal East Pakistani (now Bangladeshi) people immigrated to India during the 1971 war. According to UNHCR’s ‘The State of the World Refugees-2000’ report, during March-April, within a month, around one million (1 million) refugees entered India, fleeing military repression in East Pakistan. According to the report, “By the end of May, the average daily inflow in India was over 100,000 and reached nearly four million.”

At that time India was a young 24-year-old republic and its economy was weak. (Its GDP at that time was $ 65.9 billion. How low this was can be estimated from the GDP of 2014. GDP in 2014 was $ 2,066.90 billion.) Although food production in India was in good condition due to the Green Revolution but even so good was not enough to feed 10 million people for free, as fighting wars cost a lot of money and resources anyway, so hosting 10 million additional souls was no small task.

Also Read What is citizenship?

2. Oil crisis 1973

The 1973 oil crisis began in October 1973 when members of the Organization of the Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries announced an oil embargo. This applied to countries that were supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War such as Canada, Japan, Netherlands, UK, USA etc. This resulted in an increase in the price of oil by almost 300%. and had many short- and long-term effects on global politics and the global economy. It posed a big challenge in front of India as well.

3. Poverty and Inflation

Although Indira Gandhi came to power by giving the slogan of poverty hatao, but during that time the poverty increased during the decrease. According to the report of the Planning Commission, during 1973-74, about 55 percent of the total population of the country was living below the poverty line. Also, in 1973, inflation had increased by about 17 percent.

Overall, the condition of India can be gauged from the facts given above that how big a crisis the country was going through. And it was not so little that the political instability completely shook the country. This was the reason behind the imposition of Emergency 1975.

Let us now see what happened in the country just before the Emergency 1975 was imposed.

| The immediate reason behind the imposition of Emergency 1975

Emergency 1975
Image Credit – The Statesman

Navnirman Andolan

In December 1973, students of LD College of Engineering in Ahmedabad went on strike to protest the hike in school fees. A month later, students of Gujarat University staged a protest, demanding the dismissal of the state government. It called this movement ‘Navnirman Andolan’ or movement for upliftment.

At this time Gujarat was ruled by Congress under the leadership of Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel. Which was known as “Chiman Chor” due to corruption. The student protested against the government and soon the factory workers and people from other segments of the society joined it. Clashes with police, burning of buses and government offices and attacks on ration shops became an everyday occurrence. By February 1974, the central government was forced to act. It suspended the assembly and imposed President’s rule on the state. However due to Morarji Desai’s constant agitation and fast unto death, Indira Gandhi dissolved the assembly and announced fresh elections in June.

JP movement

Following in the footsteps of Gujarat or inspired by its success, a similar movement was started in Bihar. A student protest took place in Bihar in March 1974, on which opposition parties threw their strength. Soon this movement came under the leadership of 71 year old freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan , popularly known as JP.

In the case of Bihar, Indira Gandhi did not accept the suspension of the assembly. A hero of the freedom struggle, JP was known for his selfless activism from the days of the nationalist movement. “His entry greatly promoted the struggle, and even changed its name; The ‘Bihar Movement‘ had now become the ‘JP Movement’. JP exhorted the students to boycott the classes and work for raising the collective consciousness of the society. There were large numbers of clashes with the police, courts, and offices, schools and colleges being closed.

In June 1974, JP led a large procession from the streets of Patna, which was called the ‘Sampoorna Kranti’. He urged the dissidents to put pressure on the sitting MLAs to resign, so that the Congress government could be brought down. Soon JP was seen as a popular leader who was best suited to take a stand against Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi challenged JP to face him in the March 1976 general elections. JP accepted the challenge but soon Indira Gandhi imposed emergency.

Also Read National Emergency and its provisions

Railway strike

When Bihar was burning in agitations, the railways was on strike under the leadership of socialist leader George Fernandes . The strike lasted for three weeks in May 1974, as a result of which the movement of goods and people came to a halt. Thousands of employees were arrested and their families were thrown out of their quarters on the orders of Indira Gandhi.

Rajnarayan case

A new threat to Indira Gandhi emerged in the Allahabad High Court in the form of a petition filed by socialist leader Raj Narayan who had lost the election to Indira Gandhi. The petition had accused the Prime Minister of winning elections through corrupt practices. It was alleged that he spent more money than allowed and his campaign was run by government officials. On June 12, 1975, the Allahabad High Court declared Indira Gandhi’s election void. But he was given 20 days to appeal in the Supreme Court.

On June 24, the Supreme Court granted a conditional stay of the High Court’s order: it allowed Indira Gandhi to appear in Parliament, but not to vote until the court ruled on her appeal. Was. This decision gave further impetus to the JP movement, and now their demand for the resignation of the Prime Minister started.

On June 25, Jayaprakash Narayan held a rally and gave the deadline to leave power by June 29. Now Indira Gandhi could not see any other way and emergency was imposed at midnight. And at 3 o’clock in the morning all the main leaders were put in jail.

It is worth noting that the emergency which was imposed in 1971 was still going on but it was imposed on the basis of external attack whereas this one was imposed on the basis of internal disturbances.

What is to be considered as an internal disturbance; This was not made clear in the constitution and Indira Gandhi got the benefit of this. The result of this was that by the 44th Constitutional Amendment 1978, this internal disturbance was removed and armed rebellion was made.

Also Read Conflict Between Fundamental Rights and DPSP

| Effect of emergency

Image credit – hindustantimes

A dark side of democracy was felt by the people during the 21 months when constitutional rights were suspended, freedom of expression was taken away, freedom of the press was crushed, hundreds of politicians, social activists and trade union leaders etc. was imprisoned only because he was against the policies and decisions of Indira Gandhi. During 1976-77, about 83 lakh people were sterilized against his will in a travesty of human rights.

Hardly anyone who believes in democracy could have imagined this day. Mrs Gandhi made people realize that even democracy can take an authoritarian stand. Whatever came to mind; in which his interest was seen; did. Made many unnecessary changes to the constitution, tried to reduce or control the power of the court. All this is the reason due to which June 25, 1975 is called the black day of democracy.

Also Read National Emergency and its provisions

| Constitutional amendment during Emergency 1975

First of all, he increased the power of the Governor and the President to issue ordinances by making the 38th Constitutional Amendment . Along with this, the emergency imposed under Article 352, 356 and 360 was excluded from judicial review. However, it was rejected by the 44th Constitutional Amendment 1978.

The decision of the Allahabad High Court was dealt with by the 39th Constitutional Amendment . Under this, by amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Section 8A was added, under which arrangements were made to go to the President to get the sentence pardoned. Along with this, Section 123(7) was also added, in which it was written that the help of a government official in the election will not be considered wrong.

Article 71 was amended and it was written that the election of the President would not be stopped under any circumstances. Even if some of the members of the electoral college who choose the President are less.

The biggest amendment was the 42nd Constitutional Amendment . Under this, the Constitution was amended to such a large extent that it was also called a miniature constitution. Under this Article 31, 31C, 39, 55, 74, 77, 81, 82, 83, 100, 102, 103, 105, 118, 145, 150, 166, 170, 172, 189, 191, 192, 194, 208 , 217, 225, 226, 227, 228, 311, 312, 330, 352, 353, 356, 357, 358, 359, 366, 368 and 371F were modified.
Also Article 31D, 32A, 39A, 43A, 48A, 131A, 139A, 144A, 226A, 228A and 257A were added to the constitution. Two new parts 4A and 14A were added to the
constitution. and amended Schedule 7.

The 42nd Constitutional Amendment is very important from the point of view of understanding, that is why we will understand it in a separate article.

The declaration of emergency was broadcast on the radio early in the morning. Last night the power supply of many newspapers in Delhi was cut off and the newspapers did not reach the readers of Delhi. That is why he reported the news of nationwide emergency on 27 June.

The Emergency period has been one of the most talked about, controversial moments in the history of independent India. The forced mass sterilization and birth control programs during this time were led by Sanjay Gandhi.

The Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi justified the Emergency by saying something like this in the broadcast that morning; “President has declared emergency. There is nothing to panic. I am sure you all are aware of the deep and comprehensive conspiracy that has been going on since I tried to benefit the common man and woman of India. Some progressive measures have been introduced. An attempt has been made to negate the functioning of democracy in the name of democracy. Duly elected governments have not been allowed to function and in some cases the use of force has been made by the members of legally elected legislatures. The entire nation was shocked by the brutal murder of my cabinet colleague Shri LN Mishra. The agitation has heated up the atmosphere, leading to violent incidents. Deeply saddened by the cowardly attack on India’s justice…..”

Overall, this is the Emergency 1975, I hope it is understandable. Be sure to read other related articles as well. And don’t forget to share this article.

National Emergency and its provisions

President’s Rule, Provisions and the Bommai Case


Article Based On,
M Laxmikant – Polity of India↗️
List of amendments of the Constitution of India
मूल संविधान
How India responded to the influx of 10 million refugees
India Inflation Rate 1960-2021
Poverty index
Emergency 1975 – https://indianexpress.com/article/research/four-reasons-why-indira-gandhi-declared-the-emergency-5232397/
Emergency (Inside Story) Kuldeep Nair and Encyclopedia