Black Days of Emergency

Ramesh Arora
Black day in the history of democracy, was also called as period of Hitler in India which started on 25th June 1975 and ended on 21st March 1977. As internal emergency was imposed in the country because Indira Gandhi headed government was declared as illegal as it was involved in misuse of official machinery and rigging in elections by the Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad on 12th June 1975 in a writ petition filed by Raj Narayan. Thereafter, 42nd Amendment of Constitution was made by Smt. Indira Gandhi government to make emergency more effective. More stringent law was made to implement emergency effectively with more powers with the centre governemnt.
All fundamental rights were suspended during emergency. Because Article 352 of Constitution of India under clause-1 gives powers to the centre government to declare emergency in case of internal disturbance. Now the word internal disturbance has been changed and armed rebellion was subsituted by the government after 44th amendment of the constitution of India.
After declaration of emergency, powers of the courts were curtailed and they were stopped from interfering or taking cognizance of legality of emergency and its implementation. The arrested persons were taken in custody without explaining any reason for indefinite period because there was no fixed period and many leaders remained in jail till emergency was revoked.
Let’s discuss the situation of 1975 when emergency was imposed in India. The state of Jammu & Kashmir also endorsed the stand of Indira Gandhi and arrested as many as 1200 RSS leaders and workers with leaders of political parties. Press censorship was imposed and with the declaration of emergency, immediately electric connection of maximum places used for printing of papers were disconnected without any exception. Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah was Chief Minister in the state of J&K who followed the verdict and direction of central government and arrested many leaders in the state of J&K.
Nav Nirman Andolan stated in Gujarat in December 1973. The students of Engineering College of Gujarat started agitation against hike in fee structure and agitation was led by Morarji Desai in 1974. The government of Chiman Bhai Patel was dismissed as there was allegation of corruption against the said government and Centre government by using Article 356 dismissed the state government.
It was just beginning of exposing corrupt practice existing in Congress government. Again University students of Bihar started agitation and their agitation was led by a popular leader Jai Parkash Narayan, who after some time gave slogan of “Sampuran Kranti” in India and Indira Gandhi was asked to quit. 12th June 1975 was a historical day when the judge of Allahabad High Court, while deciding writ challanging election of Smt. Indira Gandhi was declared null and void. That she had no locus standi to continue in power because election was rigged by use of official machinery. She was also debarred from contesting elections for next 6 years. As Supreme Court was on vacation it refused to issue total stay and conditional order was passed. This was an important factor for imposing emergency.
Late midnight emergency was imposed i.e. National Internal Emergency by President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed without recommendation of the cabinet. It is worth to mention that external emergency was already in existance as in 1962 war took place between India and China. Second external emergency was declared in the coutnry in 1971 when there was war between India and Pakistan.
But this time provision of 352 (1) was misused and internal emergnecy was declared for indefinate period as no particular period was prescribed before 44th Amendment. Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, George Fernandes including RSS leadership and many more were arrested. Infact, Sanjay Gandhi was active in implementation and was using power of PM being son of Indira Gandhi. Nasbandi (Family Planning) by force was done, many slum area were dismentalled without any procedure.
Jammu & Kashmir was headed by the then Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah. Heimplemented the decision of Centre government and many people of RSS were tortured and detained under MISA maintenance of Internal Security Act and DIR.
We can not forget No Vakil-No Appeal-No Dalil was allowed, rights of courts were curtailed, to mention few who were detained under MISA includes Ashok Khajuria, Chaman Lal Gupta, Ramesh Arora, Kavinder Gupta, Ramesh Papa, Sat Pal Singh, Chander Mohan Sharma, Baldev, Omkar Arora, Shaminder Sharma, Ashok Gupta, Anandji, Ashok Gupta at present Pathankot Murari Lal, Master Dhian Chand, Onkar Seth, Ramesh Gupta, Subin Pandita, Suresh Kumar, Vipan Gupta, Jagdish Langer, Sat Paul, Ram Mohan, Surinder Mohan, Satish Sethi, Sudershan Gupta and many more 150 persons were detained under MISA and many more were arrested under Defence of India Rules (DIR).
Onkar Arora alongwith Vijay Gupta, Ashok Gupta and many others were tortured. Police was harassing, beating many leaders after arrest to trace out small printing machine used to expose illegality done by Centre Government. Akali Dal in Punjab also courted arrest with RSS leaders throughout the country.
George Fernandes gave a call for Rail Roko during 1975 before emergency and paralysed movement of transport was also one of the reasons for enforcing emergency especially when Smt. Indira Gandhi failed to get clear stay against the order of Allahabad High Court. Congress started 20 point programme to subside the issue and at the same time Sanjay Gandhi separately started 5 point programme but failed to pacify reaction which was in the minds of public due to curtailment of all fundamental rights.
National Poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar’s word acted as catalyst to motivate public. He said Sihassan Khali Karo…Ke Janata Aati Hai… while declaring emergency Smt. Indira Gandhi said on “Radio” Preisdent have proclaimed emergency there is nothing to panic about but every one was aware that there is no more freedom and political parties their leaders were arrested under MISA for indefinite period.
When Indira Gandhi was defeated in elections, Jai Prakash Narayan declared Morarji Desai as Prime Minister of India after taking all elected members into confidence but he could not survive for long time due to kidney problem which was aggravated during his arrest.
On 25th March a massive rally was held at Ramleela Ground Delhi where appeal was made by JP to armed forces not to obey the illegal directions of the Centre Government. It also proved a big blow in crisis which Congress was facing. Prior to it, on 12th June judgement by Hon’ble Judge Sh. Jagmohan Sinha of Allahabad High Court declared election as illegal and directed Indira Gandhi to stepdown.
A delegation led by this author of this write-up (former MLC) met with Lieutanant Governor Shri Manoj Sinha and appealed that due recognition be given to all Loktentra Sanani in the UT of J&K by recognising their contribution for protecting democracy as has been done in other 12 states including HP, Punjab, Harayana, Rajasthan, MP etc.
It is said here that in a number of judgements Hon’ble High Courts of different states have declared that emergency was black day of democracy and recognized that facilities granted to Loktentra Sanani cannot be snatched. Hon’ble LG Manoj Sinha assured that needful will be done in UT also.
(The author is Advocate )