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46 years of the 1975 Emergency under Indira Gandhi Government

On 25th June 1975, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency and hence marked the black chapters of History in India. The first time the national emergency applied in India was in 1975-1977 under the guidance of President Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed for the sake of prevailing internal disturbances. All the fundamental rights of the citizens were taken away, press censorship was applied, the leaders of opposition parties were arrested, and the electricity of the press offices was cut.

During the Emergency, indian citizens lost their basic fundamental rights and the rights of the press media were snatched away. There was no circulation of newspapers for the next few days after the emergency as the right to free speech was taken away from the citizens.

On 26th June 1975, Indira Gandhi announced on the All India Radio that the President has imposed a national emergency to deal with the internal disturbance. She granted herself great powers with the help of the emergency. She launched a massive crackdown on the opposition parties. The press was censored and the political opponents were imprisoned. To ensure that the press does not publish anything, the electricity was cut for straight 2 days.

The emergency was imposed from 1975-1977. It was a 21 month-long period. The constitutional rights and the freedom of speech from the press were withdrawn and suspended for a period of 21 months.

Before the emergency, India’s condition was not at all stable. There were economic troubles, scarcity of food, increasing unemployment, and rampant inflation. This condition was accompanied by widespread protests and riots in several parts of the country.
Censorship played a huge role. It was imposed on the press, cinema, and other forms of art, and political leaders were being arrested at the whim and fancy of the government.

Reasons because of which PM Indira Gandhi declared the “Emergency”

There were some reasons because of which Indira Gandhi declared an emergency. They are as follows:
• Congress’s opposition leader Raj Narain, who had lost out to Gandhi in the Raebareli elections in 1971, filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court accusing that Indira Gandhi had won the elections through corrupt practices. He also accused that a government official named Yashpal Kapoor worked under her and Indira Gandhi used more money in the election campaigns than was required. Due to the following reasons, Jag Mohan Lal Sinha declared the election of Indira Gandhi null and void and also banned her from contesting elections. This judgment of the High Court was also approved by the Supreme Court, but it permitted Gandhi to be the Prime Minister. However, she cannot vote in the Rajya Sabha.

• A movement called JP Movement which was led by Jayaprakash Narayan was a significant reason for Indira Gandhi to declare an emergency. Because of the rising corrupt practices of the Congress Government and people’s hatred towards it, the JP Movement took place. A huge rally in the Ramleela Maidan in Delhi made Gandhi feel that her government was in danger, hence declaring an emergency. She also got all the opposing leaders arrested and imprisoned.

How were the people affected after the emergency?
Every society got affected due to the declaration of the emergency. Scarcity of food and unemployment was itself rising before the emergency.
• All the opposing party leaders were imprisoned under the MISA (maintenance of internal security) Act. During the emergency period, such an act was made in which the imprisoned person could not go to court and ask for bail.
• The news of the imprisonment of all the leaders was not even provided to their family members. Also, leaders were not allowed to meet anyone. Even the letters written by them were censored.
• The compulsory sterilization program was started to limit population growth. People were taken forcefully for the sterilization process.
• It seemed that the state was ruled by a dictator. Police brutality was at its peak. Men and women were tortured.
• To change the verdict of the Allahabad High Court, the Indira Gandhi government made some amendments in the Constitution during the emergency period itself. The constitution was amended by the 42nd Amendment Act.
• The government also tried to weaken the roots of the Constitution and also tried to deteriorate the balance between the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary.
• At the beginning of the emergency, articles 14, 21, and 22 were suspended. Article 14 i.e. Right to equality, Article 21 i.e. Right to live freely, and article 22 which says that no person will be detained in custody without being informed about the cause of his arrest.
• In January 1976, Article 19 which grants the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms or form associations were all suspended.
• All the press and media associations such as the PTI, UNI, Hindustan News were forcefully closed and a formation of a new news agency took place. A code of conduct was written against the press and the journalists were accused of sedition, hence arrested.
• The advocates and judges who tried to help the needy people were also not spared and were arrested.
• Wherever there was a farmer protest or a strike, the workers tried to crush them to death.
• One of the worst affected were the teachers and the poor family workers which were forced to do family planning.
• The uncontrollable powers given to the police and the ones in power were being brutally abused.

The first Lok Sabha elections that took place after the emergency was in 1977 which oust the Gandhis and brought the Janata Party into power. Indira Gandhi imposed an emergency so that the elections could be postponed because she knew that her party will not win the elections. The emergency was more of a weapon for Indira Gandhi to oust the Janata Party.

The emergency was proclaimed under article 352 of the Indian Constitution before the 44th Amendment Act which stated that the President of India can proclaim an emergency if he is satisfied that the country is under some grave threat. This article was rather vague and arbitrary. When Janata Party came into power, it made several changes in article 352. The rules around the Proclamation of Emergency were strictly modified and outlined after the Emergency in 1975. A simple majority of the Parliament is no longer sufficient for the proclamation of emergency, a special majority is needed for the proclamation of emergency in India.

The national emergency is called a black day which is justified. It proved how government can play with the law for their benefit if the citizens or netizens are not aware of their rights and role in the society.

The emergency of 1977 affected the people of the country and their rights and had a great impact on the economic situation of the country and the huge inflation. It shows how a government can do anything which helps them to maintain their legacy. Due to these all incidents, people busted their anger and the congress government was defeated in the elections of 1977. The new government dismissed all the amendments and the spirit of the constitution was maintained again.

Now the press has more freedom and it can express anything which it wants and it helps the citizens to be aware of the practices of the elected government. People enjoy their rights and can go to court if they face any violation. The constitution and the judiciary are the primary powers. Now no one can apply such a situation in the country for their benefit.

Edited by Aishwarya Ingle

On 25th June 1975, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency and hence marked the black chapters of History in India. The first time the national emergency applied in India was in 1975-1977 under the guidance of President Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed for the sake of prevailing internal disturbances. All the fundamental rights of the citizens were taken away, press censorship was applied, the leaders of opposition parties were arrested, and the electricity of the press offices was cut.


During the Emergency, Indian citizens lost their basic fundamental rights and the rights of the press media were snatched away. There was no circulation of newspapers for the next few days after the emergency as the right to free speech was taken away from the citizens.


On 26th June 1975, Indira Gandhi announced on the All India Radio that the President has imposed a national emergency to deal with the internal disturbance. She granted herself great powers with the help of the emergency. She launched a massive crackdown on the opposition parties. The press was censored and the political opponents were imprisoned. To ensure that the press does not publish anything, the electricity was cut for straight 2 days.


The emergency was imposed from 1975-1977. It was a 21 month-long period. The constitutional rights and the freedom of speech from the press were withdrawn and suspended for a period of 21 months.


Before the emergency, India’s condition was not at all stable. There were economic troubles, scarcity of food, increasing unemployment, and rampant inflation. This condition was accompanied by widespread protests and riots in several parts of the country.
Censorship played a huge role. It was imposed on the press, cinema, and other forms of art, and political leaders were being arrested at the whim and fancy of the government.
Reasons because of which PM Indira Gandhi declared the “Emergency”
There were some reasons because of which Indira Gandhi declared an emergency. They are as follows:
• Congress’s opposition leader Raj Narain, who had lost out to Gandhi in the Raebareli elections in 1971, filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court accusing that Indira Gandhi had won the elections through corrupt practices. He also accused that a government official named Yashpal Kapoor worked under her and Indira Gandhi used more money in the election campaigns than was required. Due to the following reasons, Jag Mohan Lal Sinha declared the election of Indira Gandhi null and void and also banned her from contesting elections. This judgment of the High Court was also approved by the Supreme Court, but it permitted Gandhi to be the Prime Minister. However, she cannot vote in the Rajya Sabha.


• A movement called JP Movement which was led by Jayaprakash Narayan was a significant reason for Indira Gandhi to declare an emergency. Because of the rising corrupt practices of the Congress Government and people’s hatred towards it, the JP Movement took place. A huge rally in the Ramleela Maidan in Delhi made Gandhi feel that her government was in danger, hence declaring an emergency. She also got all the opposing leaders arrested and imprisoned.

How were the people affected after the emergency?
Every society got affected due to the declaration of the emergency. Scarcity of food and unemployment was itself rising before the emergency.
• All the opposing party leaders were imprisoned under the MISA (maintenance of internal security) Act. During the emergency period, such an act was made in which the imprisoned person could not go to court and ask for bail.
• The news of the imprisonment of all the leaders was not even provided to their family members. Also, leaders were not allowed to meet anyone. Even the letters written by them were censored.
• The compulsory sterilization program was started to limit population growth. People were taken forcefully for the sterilization process.
• It seemed that the state was ruled by a dictator. Police brutality was at its peak. Men and women were tortured.
• To change the verdict of the Allahabad High Court, the Indira Gandhi government made some amendments in the Constitution during the emergency period itself. The constitution was amended by the 42nd Amendment Act.
• The government also tried to weaken the roots of the Constitution and also tried to deteriorate the balance between the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary.
• At the beginning of the emergency, articles 14, 21, and 22 were suspended. Article 14 i.e. Right to equality, Article 21 i.e. Right to live freely, and article 22 which says that no person will be detained in custody without being informed about the cause of his arrest.
• In January 1976, Article 19 which grants the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms or form associations were all suspended.
• All the press and media associations such as the PTI, UNI, Hindustan News were forcefully closed and a formation of a new news agency took place. A code of conduct was written against the press and the journalists were accused of sedition, hence arrested.
• The advocates and judges who tried to help the needy people were also not spared and were arrested.
• Wherever there was a farmer protest or a strike, the workers tried to crush them to death.
• One of the worst affected were the teachers and the poor family workers which were forced to do family planning.
• The uncontrollable powers given to the police and the ones in power were being brutally abused.


The first Lok Sabha elections that took place after the emergency was in 1977 which oust the Gandhis and brought the Janata Party into power. Indira Gandhi imposed an emergency so that the elections could be postponed because she knew that her party will not win the elections. The emergency was more of a weapon for Indira Gandhi to oust the Janata Party.


The emergency was proclaimed under article 352 of the Indian Constitution before the 44th Amendment Act which stated that the President of India can proclaim an emergency if he is satisfied that the country is under some grave threat. This article was rather vague and arbitrary. When Janata Party came into power, it made several changes in article 352. The rules around the Proclamation of Emergency were strictly modified and outlined after the Emergency in 1975. A simple majority of the Parliament is no longer sufficient for the proclamation of emergency, a special majority is needed for the proclamation of emergency in India.


The national emergency is called a black day which is justified. It proved how government can play with the law for their benefit if the citizens or netizens are not aware of their rights and role in the society.

The emergency of 1977 affected the people of the country and their rights and had a great impact on the economic situation of the country and the huge inflation. It shows how a government can do anything which helps them to maintain their legacy.

Due to these all incidents, people busted their anger and the congress government was defeated in the elections of 1977. The new government dismissed all the amendments and the spirit of the constitution was maintained again.


Now the press has more freedom and it can express anything which it wants and it helps the citizens to be aware of the practices of the elected government. People enjoy their rights and can go to court if they face any violation. The constitution and the judiciary are the primary powers. Now no one can apply such a situation in the country for their benefit.

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