SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Minattur, Joseph (1959) Emergency powers in the states of Southern Asia. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (28MB)


After examining how far Rule of Law applied in the Indo-Pakistan sub-continent in the Moghul Period, the thesis traces the history of the exercise of emergency powers from the early days of the East India Company, when martial law was proclaimed in the event of war or insurrection. After 1861 the ordinance-making power of the Governor-General, which could be used to enact legislation specially directed to meet the difficulties created by most kinds of crisis, resulted in a large volume of emergency legislation during the second quarter of the present century. The thesis also deals with the power of certification of Bills conferred by the Government of India Act, 1919 and continued by the Constitution Act of 1935. Emergency legislation during the two world wars is analysed with a view to estimating how far it affected civil liberties. Public security measures during the dominion period in India and Pakistan are also dealt with. While setting out the emergency provisions in the Constitution of India, their inherent weaknesses which may tend to create a dictatorship are mentioned. The Indian provisions are compared with the emergency provisions in the Pakistan Constitution of 1956. The events and conditions which led to the abrogation of the latter Constitution and the establishment of a military dictatorship set out. The history of emergency powers in Ceylon is traced from the days of the British conquest of the island, passing in review the proclamation of martial law on various occasions. The Public Security Ordinance, 1947, and its several amendments culminating in the amending Act of 1959, it is pointed out, may eclipse democratic freedoms for the minorities in the island. The concluding chapter deals in the main with some suggestions which might help to stabilise the democratic institutions set up in the South Asian states.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:09

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item