On Monday, the Supreme Court sought the Centre’s views on a plea filed by Vera Sarin, who wanted to declare the 1975 Emergency as “wholly unconstitutional.”
The advocate of the 94-year-old, Harish Salve, called the Emergency a “fraud” and the “greatest assault” on the Indian Constitution, as there was a prolonged suspension of rights during its course.
Salve said, “It is too serious a matter to be left out. People of our generation could not do anything then. This lady has no political agenda. She has suffered and has come to court to seek a final closure on this issue. She would be happy to get a declaration that the Emergency declared was wrong.”
The bench, headed by Justice SK Kaul, agreed to hear Sarin’s plea but also noted that it should be examined if it’s “feasible or desirable” to look over the validity of the proclamation of the Emergency 45 years after it was announced.
According to the apex court, they are having difficulty as the Emergency was something that should not have happened.
Sarin approached the apex court on December 7 with the plea and also sought compensation of Rs 25 crore for the wrongful detention of her husband by government authorities. According to the plea, they were compelled to leave the country for the fear of being jailed. This too in pursuance of unjustifiable and arbitrary detention orders, which were issued against the petitioner’s husband.
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The petitioner’s husband worked with precious artifacts and gems, which were all confiscated and never returned. The petition alleged that even after her husband died, Sarin has been dealing with the legal proceedings that were initiated against him during the Emergency. She alleged that “on many occasions, there used to be knocks on her door (and) policemen and other officials used to enter her home and used to leave her alone only after she offered them leftover pieces of valuables in her home.[sic].”
The then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, declared the Emergency minutes before midnight of June 25, 1975. It was revoked nearly two years later in March 1977.
(With added inputs from The Quint)
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