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December 18, 2020
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Why in news?

A 94-year old petitioner is seeking relief for the losses suffered due to the proclamation of emergency.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • The court reluctantly agreed to examine the constitutionality of the proclamation of Emergency.
  • It was hesitant to take up the issue as 45 years have passed since the declaration of Emergency.
  • It said that examining this issue on merits now could be a cumbersome process.

What was the Emergency?

  • On June 12, 1975, the Allahabad High Court declared the election of then PM Indira Gandhi as null and void.
  • On the appeal to Supreme Court, High Court’s decision was stayed.
  • SC allowed Gandhi to remain as PM but limited her right to vote in the parliament.
  • Following the court’s order, Opposition Parties rallied & demanded her resignation on moral grounds.
  • To curtail this rally, National Emergency was imposed under the Article 352 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 352 states that Emergency can be imposed “if there exists grave threat to the security of the whole of India or a territory of India, either by war, external aggression or internal disturbances.”

What happened after the proclamation of Emergency?

  • Censorship was imposed on media, civil liberties were suspended.
  • Constitution was fundamentally changed to suit the government needs.
  • During Emergency, 38th- 42nd Constitutional amendments were passed creating a tussle between executive & judiciary.
  • Later these amendments were either overturned by courts.
  • They were also reversed in the 44th Constitutional amendment in 1978 to prevent misuse of powers by the executive.

Why is the petitioner seeking relief after 45 years?

  • Petitioner stated that her immovable properties were illegally occupied for their activities during the Emergency.
  • She also mentioned that she won a legal battle in the Delhi High Court for control of the properties.
  • The Delhi High Court also ordered that rent should be paid to her as compensation for illegal occupation of the property.
  • This made her to file a plea to claim damages for the alleged harassment suffered during the Emergency period.

 

 

Source: The Indian Express

 

 

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