Emergency, the darkest period in the history of democratic India. A time when people had no right to live. Did you know? that the state could kill you for no reason what so ever and then could avoid the court of law during the emergency!
Lets take a deep dive, that how a series of events fueled the emergency and the consequences we Indians had to face.
Table of Contents
- Supreme court Vs Indira Gandhi
- Sanjay Gandhi vs PN Haksar
- Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan
- State of Uttar Pradesh vs Raj Narain
- Emergency in India
- Dr Subramanian Swamy
- Emergency ends
- FAQ on Emergency
Supreme court Vs Indira Gandhi
The honorable supreme court of India is the guardian of our constitution. An authoritarian government clashed with the judiciary in the 60s and 70s era. Indira Gandhi was trying to establish one party rule and to gain as much power she could. In addition she wanted to avoid judicial review
In the Golaknath vs the state of Punjab case the supreme court gave a verdict that fundamental rights cant be curtailed. Owing to the judgment the parliament brought the 24th amendment in 1971 to abrogate the SC judgment. It amended Article 13 and 368
Kerala government passed a law to control religious place under two state act. After that in February 1970, Swami HH Shri Kesavananda Bharti the head monk of the Edneer matha challenged Kerala governments decision to gain control over his matha.
He and Nani Palkhivala filed a petition under Article 26. They basically challenged the validity of the 26th, 27th ,28th and the 29th amendment. A 13 bench gave a verdict split verdict [7:6] in the favor of Swami Kesavananda Bharti.
Supreme court over turned the Golaknath verdict and said, that the parliament can amend any part of the constitution but it can’t change the basic structure of the constitution. Supreme court also called Preamble as an integral part of the constitution.
This case made sure that the government cannot overpower the supreme court.In other words it put a limit to the power the state could enjoy.
Sanjay Gandhi vs PN Haksar
P N Haksar was a Kashmiri Pandit who was A IFS officer. He worked as a deputy high commission to London. He met Feroze Gandhi during his college days. Being a Kashmiri Pandit he came close to Motilal Nehru and slowly a really good friend of his son Jawaharlal Nehru.
Well he was one of the prominent members of the Kashmir mafia. They were behind every decision that Indira Gandhi made. He had Leftist Ideologies. Indira Gandhi was left leaning/socialist because of PN Haksar.
Well, something happened that made, Sanjay Gandhi have bitter perspective for PN Haksar. Sanjay told indira that he wants to quit the internship in Rolls Royce, when he was in London. He believed that he had learned everything there was to learn only in a year and hence wanted to quit the 4 year program.
This would mean that he would not get the degree [Gandhi anyways quit the program]. This worried Indira and hence she turned to her confidant Haksar. He replied to her letter and advised her against Sanjay’s decision. Sanjay later learned about this.
He even criticized Sanjay for his Maruti Project and told Indira that this would demean the party. This really enraged Sanjay. After that Sanjay slowly outplaced Haksar in Indira’s eyes.
Above all Sanjay arrested Pn Haksar’s uncle as soon as emergency was declared. He was 80 years old. Political Pundits say this was done to avenge on Haksar.
Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan
Due to massive corruption Gandhian Socialist, JP asked for a complete reform and a new government. But the center refused. In April, 1974 he led a huge protest asking students, labor unions and peasants to gather a non-violent protest against the establishment. Later he asked the soldiers to oppose any order if it wasn’t in national interest. Most importantly, Gandhi used this sentence to declare emergency in India
State of Uttar Pradesh vs Raj Narain
In 1969 congress split into two parts, Congress(O) with the syndicate in power and Congress(R) with Indira and the Kashmir mafia in power. Indira Gandhi was very sure that she would win the election if elections were held within in a year. So, she told the president to dissolve the assembly. Hence in 1970 elections were held.
She chose the auspicious Rae Bareli seat.So the united opposition decided to place a powerful and popular leader against her, hence they chose Raj Narain. Even though he was very confident of winning, Indira had a landslide victory. She won by almost 110000.
Narain conspired Manipulation of ballet papers and hence approached lawyer Shanti Bhushan. Bhushan knew that he could not prove the former but he found Indira guilty of serious electoral malpractices. He filed a petition under Representation of people act, 1951.
Bhushan thought that she had used Government servants for her benefit. Like asking DM, police officers for arranging for dais, loudspeaker or asking Air force to fly her out. She used this for an electoral meeting. Even using her aide Yashpal Kapur when he was government servant.
This case was the first case when a sitting PM was summoned by the court. While cross examining Indira he proved to the court that she lied under a oath. The hearing continued till May 23rd, 1975. The judgement came on June 12th, 1975, Justice Sinha found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices on two counts. He declared her election Null and void. He further Unseated her from her Lok Sabha seat and Banned her from contesting 6 years. This was a real threat to Indira Gandhi’s political career.
This case was the spark to the vicious fire that annihilated our democracy.
Emergency in India
On 25th June, 1975 Just before midnight the president declared a state of emergency in India citing Internal disturbances. After that she used article 352 of the constitution to lock all opposition leaders including JP. Indira Gandhi banned RSS too.
People from the congress who opposed the emergency like Chandra Shekar by resigning from the congress were arrested and placed under detention. The infamous Ranjan case happened during this emergency. She passed ordinances via the president that made her rule by decree. This led to several human rights violation.
Sanjay cut electricity to all news papers. in addition, he censored every news article against the establishment.
Policies during emergency
In 1976 Sanjay Gandhi led a forced sterilization program to control the population. People were arrested and detained for no reason. Even political prisoners were detained. Door darshan was used for government propaganda and those who refused to comply were punished [Kishore Kumar was banned because he refused Sanjay Gandhi’s request to spread the party propaganda].
Supreme court struck down all the unconstitutional laws passed during the emergency.
Dr Subramanian Swamy
Dr Swamy was not in the good books of Indira Gandhi. He was outspoken about his anti socialistic economic policies. This is why as soon as emergency as declared a Warrant in the name of Swamy was put out. But before he could be arrested, he eloped away.
He disguised himas a Sardar and went to Gujrat. There he met another underground soldier of democracy, then RSS worker and current prime minister Narendra Modi. After spending some time in India JP advised him to flee to America. There he got a job at Harvard. An organization, voicing their opinion for democracy was founded and named Indians for democracy.
He held meetings with BBC and voice of America. After some campaigning he realized that the people in America always thought that only Smugglers and thieves were jailed. They had no idea about JP and other honest leaders. So to reignite the thrust for democracy he entered India. He bought a ticket for Dubai but on landing at Delhi he did not catch the Dubai flight.
He entered the parliament and signed the register of attendance. It was 10th august, the first day of parliament. The Obituary list was read out. When the speaker read out the last name, he stood up and said “Point of order, even Democracy died today”.
The speaker held 2 minutes silence and at that time he eloped. Birendra was the raja of Nepal and a student of his in Harvard. Subsequently Swamy fled India to Nepal and via raja’s help reached America again. This act instilled a new vigor in the protest against democracy. Swamy has thanked RSS and Nanaji Deshmukh for helping him stay under ground in India.
Indira Gandhi called an end to the emergency and declared elections in 1977. The opposition was united after the emergency period. They used the “Democracy vs dictatorship” slogan against Indira. The slogan worked like magic. Indira Gandhi herself lost election and congress was a disaster in north India. Congress was reduced to 153 seats.
If you do the character analysis of Indira Gandhi then you will notice her tendency to have absolute control. Its a habit that every communist has. This and her blind love led for Sanjay Gandhi resulted to emergency.
FAQ on Emergency
No, emergency was even applied during war with Pakistan
Before all human rights were suspend. Your right to live could be snatched away from you, with no questions asked. But after the Janta government came to power, they amended the emergency law and now not all
Yes, technically but no pratically.
Yes, surprisingly she was voted back to power! But she was assassinated before she could complete her term.
You must not trust any leader blindly. This is because during emergency there was a very popular slogan. “India is Indira and Indira is India”. In fact, popular leaders have time and time again misused their power.
I like reading and teaching. Follow to learn about the political analysis of the world