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Military plays a crucial role in modern-day states. Even though the military has its role within the country, having separate institutions, separate work etc it comes under the executive and assists it when called upon. The executive is required to meet the demand of the military and give their due. And therefore, it is required for the executive and military to do their work and do not encroach upon one’s other work and space and perform the work separately. Now a day’s new rules and regulations bring out by different countries giving the wide prevalence of military’s intervention in politics. Most of the countries that are giving wide intervention of the military in politics are facing a situation of military’s regime. Despite the best functioning of the democracy in most of the country most of the countries witness a situation of the military regime. The reason for this is that military intervention in politics. This is the consequence of giving wide power to the military. Which is resulting most of the time in negatively snatching the power.

Military coup

Constitution provides with the separate role of armed forces. It is a fact that the military protects the country from external aggressions, internal disturbances, emergencies etc but in a democratic country even though there is equal distribution of powers, there is a restricted role of armed forces in the context of regulating the country. That’s why armies limitedly try to interfere in the governance and regulation of the country. A different country regulates their country on a different basis. Therefore, different concern raises on the different powers. coup d’état also called coup originated from the French word which means sudden overthrow or removal of the government and its power by a dictator or sudden overthrow of the states. And military coup means getting the power or sudden overthrow of an existing government by militaries.  William Gaddis once said, “power does not corrupt people, people corrupt power”- William power does not corrupt people, people corrupt power Gaddis. In democratic nations there is better coordination between civil society and the military and role has been signified, some of the examples are:

  1. In a democratic country, the nation itself choose the head of the states by free and fair election. And later the head appoints an executive head. After the consultation of the head of the state, an executive head appoints the military head.
  2. Civil society elected by the people is directly and therefore directly responsible to the people while the military is subject to the control and supervision by all the three organs of the government.
  3. Judiciary prevents military intervention from compromising civil liberties. And protects the rights of the individuals.


The 1966 Nigerian coup d’état began on 15 January 1966, when mutinous Nigerian soldiers led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna killed 22 people[1] including the Prime Minister of Nigeria, many senior politicians, many senior Army officers (including their wives), and sentinels on protective duty[2].

Coup d’état of 21 April 1967 in Greece: A gathering of colonels ousted the overseer government a month before planned races which Georgios Papandreou’s Center Union was expected to win. There are bundles of cases of the Military’s coup. In the recent dates especially in 2021 itself, there are 10 Military’s coups. Eg. the Myanmar military coup, Malian coup d’état, Guinean coup d’état and very recent in October is Sudanese coup d’état the military forces of Sudan did a successful coup against the government. The prime minister was arrested, the government was dissolved and a state of emergency was declared by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan[3] etc.

Causes of military’s intervention

There may be various reasons for Military’s intervention like are as follows:

  1. Political scenario: ruling party most of the time avoids measures that they could take. Most of the time ruling party neglects the evils also. Ruling government if incompetent to regulate the country in a better way then it empowers the military to take steps. And which results in a coup by the military or various organizations who have the power to do so.
  2. Poverty: Lack of access to the needs of the country or when lack of proper procedures to get access that is the rights of an individual is curtailed then it empowers of a coup.
  3. Grievances: Personal grievances or military organization grievances may be the other reason that empowers the military for overturning. Most of the time power of civil society is greater than the militaries’ and sometimes civil society restricts and neglects the demands of the military which establishes personal grudges and therefore personal grievances occur.
  4. High Status: Sometimes in the rules and regulations high power is guaranteed to the dictator or military that empowers them to enjoy the special status. That’s why the military enjoys greater power which may create thrust for power.
  5. Conflicts: sometimes there is a conflict between the opposition and ruling parties. In such a case opposition parties tries to collaborate with the military to remove the ruling government. Which results in a military coup.
Why India has not seen a military coup and laws related to it?

It is not sufficient to say that India has a well-disciplined and patriot army not to overthrow the government. It is true but not the sole reason. The power is not in a single hand. It is based on rankings. Also, the appointment of all the forces is by the President of India. Even though Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) empowers armed forces to impose restrictions in certain designated territories but the same will be decided by the Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory. If parliament is not in session or have lost the majority then President is not empowered to appoint the military to rule. It is mandatory to conduct an election within six months. Also one of the highest post in the tri-service matters is chief of Defence Staff, will not be eligible to hold any government office. Also Armed force act, 1950, Air force act, 1950, and Indian Navy act, 1957 states that central government by notices, make rules limiting in such way and to such degree as might be indicated the right of any individual subject to this Act

  1. to be a member of, or to be associated in any way with, any trade union or labour union, or any class of trade or labour unions or any society, institution or association, or any class of societies, institutions or associations;
  2. to attend or address any meeting or to take part in any demonstration organised by any body of persons for any political or other purposes[4];
  3. to communicate with the press or to publish or cause to be published any book, letter or other document.

Therefore certain restrictions can be imposed on the forces which restricts these forces from interfering in constitutional matters[5].

Consequences of the military coup

  1. Coup in any form affects the lives of innocent citizens. They lose their fundamental rights, natural right or right in any form. We can see in the case of Afghanistan sudden coup by some groups resulted in losing the lives of innocent citizens as women and children are not allowed to come out of their houses. No rule, no discipline and work under the shadow of dictatorship makes individuals’ rights curtailed.
  2. Coup may also result in threatening the status of the country at the international level. Country at international level at the international platform will have lost the chance to suggest on any specific issues. Also, the country at the international level will not be respected as there will be a lack of consensus-ad-idem between the two countries.
  3. coup may put the country into a difficult situation. Trades and businesses also get restricted. Most of the time country faces problems related to sanctions. And therefore interested country avoids trading with those country facing a coup.
  4. In case of a coup, there will always be a war-like situation between citizens and authoritarians. As authoritarian most of the time curtails or denies the demands of locals. Therefore, chances of strikes, protests, classes will always be continuous in process.
  5. There will be a breakdown of law and order and therefore chances of further coup in future will be very high.

Ways to prevent:

  1. Providing mass literacy education to all to remove ignorance and apathy of majority that inhibit the socio-economic and political development.
  2. Promotion for achieving a democratic and self-reliant nation.
  3. Enlightening the people politically to know about their rights, duties and obligations as a citizen.
  4. Providing a practical solution to the removal of social, political and economical problems constraining the nation. The civilian government should be ready to work toward better economic growth and good political stability.
  5. Working toward good governance. There should be restricted power or there should be a limitation as well in the context of the military.
  6. Make sure that there is a separation of power. No complete power in one hand. Power on different hands poses different responsibilities.
  7. The proper role of the opposition should also be classified. They should not be completely denied.

Author(s) Name: Anchal (Chanakya National Law University, Patna)


[1] Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing, 2009. p. 237. ISBN 9780875867106

[2] Omoigui, Nowamagbe. “SPECIAL BRANCH REPORT: “Military Rebellion of 15th January 1966”. Retrieved 26 January 2017.

[3] “Sudan coup: Military dissolves civilian government and arrests leaders”. BBC News. 25 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.

[4] Advocate Kapil Kishore, Legal services India E-Journal

[5] Advocate Kapil Kishore, Legal services India E-Journal

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