(1) Where by a Proclamation issued under clause (1) of article 356, it has been declared that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament, it shall be competent —

 

(a) for Parliament to confer on the President the power of the Legislature of the State to make laws, and to authorise the President to delegate, subject to such conditions as he may think fit to impose, the power so conferred to any other authority to be specified by him in that behalf;

 

(b) for Parliament, or for the President or other authority in whom such power to make laws is vested under sub-clause (a), to make laws conferring powers and imposing duties, or authorising the conferring of powers and the imposition of duties, upon the Union or officers and authorities thereof;

 

(c) for the President to authorise when the House of the People is not in session expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State pending the sanction of such expenditure by Parliament.

 

(2) Any law made in exercise of the power of the Legislature of the State by Parliament or the President or other authority referred to in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) which Parliament or the President or such other authority would not, but for the issue of a Proclamation under article 356, have been competent to make shall, after the Proclamation has ceased to operate, continue in force until altered or repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other authority.

Debate Summary

Article 278A, Draft Constitution, 1948 

278-A. (1) Where, by a Proclamation issued under clause (1) of Article 278 of this Constitution it has been declared that the powers of the Legislature of the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament, it shall be competent- 

(a) for Parliament to delegate the power to make laws for the State to the President or any other authority specified by him in that behalf; 

(b) for Parliament or for the President or other authority to whom the power to make laws is delegated under sub-clause (a) of this clause to make laws conferring powers and imposing duties or authorising the conferring of powers and the imposition of duties upon the Government of India or officers and authorities of the Government of India; 

(c) for the President to authorise when the House of the People is not in session expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State pending the sanction of such expenditure by Parliament; 

(d) for the President to promulgate Ordinances under Article 102 of this Constitution except when both Houses of Parliament are in session. 

     (2) Any law made by or under the authority of Parliament which Parliament or the President or other authority referred to in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of this Article would not, but for the issue of a Proclamation under Article 278 of this Constitution, have been competent to make shall to the extent of the in competency cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of one year after the Proclamation has ceased to operate except as respects things done or omitted to be done before the expiration of the said period unless the provisions which shall so cease to have effect are sooner repealed or re-enacted with or without modification by an Act of the Legislature of the State. 

 

Draft Article 278-A (Article 357 of the Constitution of India, 1950) was discussed in the Assembly on 3 and 4 August 1949.  

 

When an emergency is proclaimed in a State, the President, under Draft Article 278, can declare that the State’s legislative powers will be exercised by the Union Parliament. Under Draft Article 278-A, Parliament can further delegate this power to the President or any other authority. The Draft Article also gives the President the exclusive power to take specific financial and legislative decisions for the State when the Union Parliament is not in session. All powers granted to the President and Parliament under this Draft Article shall be valid for a period of one year from the declaration of emergency.  

 

Some members were not convinced that Draft Article 278-A was necessary as the Union already had enough powers under other emergency provisions like Draft Article 275 and 276. The Drafting Committee Chairman disagreed, arguing that Draft Article 278-A was geared towards a specific type of emergency – those arising out of the failure of the constitutional machinery in a State. He emphasised that Draft Article 278-A was distinct from other emergency provisions.  

 

One member claimed that in a State emergency, the State Assembly must be given primacy. Otherwise, the Union Parlaiment and the Central Executive would risk becoming unpopular with the people of the State. A member responded by arguing that the level of responsible governance varied across the states and hence, needed checks from the centre to ensure a healthy functioning of the Constitution. Additionally, it was necessary for Parliament to delegate its power to the President to lessen Parliament’s burden. Another member added reassuringly that Parliament could always keep a check on the Power it delegates to the President.  

 

At the end of the debate, Draft Article 278-A was adopted by the Assembly on 4 August 1949.