The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine whether it can go into the Constitutional validity of the Emergency declared in 1975 by then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The top court will also examine whether it is feasible to test the validity of the proclamation of Emergency after the lapse of 45 years.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy has issued notice to the Central government in this regard, reported the Bar & Bench.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by Vera Sarin, a 94-year-old widow, seeking for the proclamation of Emergency in 1975 to be declared as unconstitutional and for a compensation to the tune of Rs 25 crore. The petitioner claimed that she and her husband were forced to leave the country for fear of being thrown into jail "in pursuance of unjustifiable and arbitrary detention orders” issued against him.
"We would not be disinclined to see whether probing such a proclamation after such a long time would be feasible or not. We issue notice on prayer (A). Learned senior counsel may restructure the petition. Leave to amend the petition by December 18," the court said.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, argued that the Supreme Court is empowered to examine the Constitutional validity of the declaration of Emergency, pointing out that courts are still hearing issues of war crimes and holocaust.
“This is not a matter for political debate. Didn't we see what happened to prisoners during emergency?,” he asked.
The 21-month-long Emergency was clamped down in the country on June 25, 1975 through an official order by then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution.
The decision was based on reports of both internal and external threat to India's sovereignty.