(1) The President may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, by order direct that all or any of the provisions of articles 268 to 279 shall for such period, not extending in any case beyond the expiration of the financial year in which such Proclamation ceases to operate, as may be specified in the order, have effect subject to such exceptions or modifications as he thinks fit.

 

(2) Every order made under clause (1) shall, as soon as may be after it is made, be laid before each House of Parliament.

 

 

Debate Summary

Article 277, Draft Constitution of India (1948) 

The President may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, by order, direct that all or any of the provisions of articles 249 to 259 of this Constitution shall for such period, not extending in any case beyond the expiration of the financial year in which such proclamation ceases to operate, as may be specified in the order, have effect subject to such exceptions or modifications as he thinks fit. 

 

Draft Article 277 (Article 354 of Constitution of India 1950) was discussed in the Assembly on 19 and 20 August 1949. It empowered the President to temporarily modify the financial relationship between the Union and the States.

 

Some members feared that the Draft Article placed the States at financial risk. The President could pass orders that may impact the States' financial obligations, planned expenditure and induce financial hardship. Other members were concerned about the President's wide powers and discretion under the Article. 

 

A Draft Committee member addressed these concerns by reminding the House that President orders were only temporary: the President could not make permanent changes to the fiscal relationship between the Union and States. The Drafting Committee Chairman assured the Assembly that the President's orders would be reasonable, measured. and appropriate for the prevailing circumstances. 

 

In any case, the Drafting Committee Chairman had moved an amendment at the beginning of the debate that required Parliament to approve the President's orders. He felt that Union-State financial arrangements must not be left to the President's discretion without any parliamentary oversight. This appears to have mollified some members who were concerned that the Draft Article gave the President excess power.    

 

The Assembly accepted the Chairman’s amendment and rejected the others.  

 

The Draft Article was adopted with the amendment on 20 August 1949.