'Great Courage': Chief Justice on Indira Gandhi's Disqualification Judgment
The decree was issued by the Chief Justice "the bold decision that led to the declaration of emergency I'm not going to go into detail about the repercussions right now."
Chief Justice NV Ramana remarked at the foundation stone laying event of the new Allahabad High Court building complex by President Ram Nath Kovind that the 1975 verdict dismissing then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a courageous decision. The event also included the laying of the foundation stone for the projected new National Law University in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
"The Allahabad High Court has a history of more than 150 years. In 1975, it was Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha, who passed the judgement disqualifying PM Indira Gandhi, which shook the nation," he said.
The Chief Justice further called the order "the judgment of great courage, which could be said to have directly resulted in the declaration of Emergency. The consequences of which I do not want to elaborate now."
Indira Gandhi was found guilty of electoral malpractices by the Allahabad High Court, which barred her from holding public office for six years. It resulted in a two-year state of emergency throughout the country.
While speaking at the ceremony, Chief Justice Ramana conveyed his gratitude and respect for President Kovind.
"I'd like to spend a few seconds to express my gratitude to the Honourable President of India for his unwavering support for the legal community. As a former lawyer, he knows the challenges and difficulties that lawyers encounter, and he has always taken an active interest in attempting to resolve any concerns that we have", he stated.
The top judge said it was the President's idea to translate the judgments of the Supreme Court to vernacular languages to increase access to justice, which has now been implemented.
"He has been showering me with his love and affection on me like a family elder since the time I met him this morning at the airport in Delhi. He was kind enough to ask me to visit the cities of Lucknow and Allahabad during his tenure. I am extremely grateful for his kind gesture of facilitating my visit to these two historic cities, "he said.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, and other dignitaries were also present at the ceremony.
The Chief Justice also mentioned Law Minister Rijiju, praising his approach to developing judicial infrastructure in order to improve access to justice. "I assumed he came from a wealthy family. But, this morning, I learned from him that he, too, comes from a rural family. He is aware of the hardships that ordinary people face", he stated.
Chief Justice Ramana said he was "overwhelmed" to be in the "City of Kumbh," which is home to great freedom fighters and has given independent India at least five Prime Ministers and five Chief Justices.
He did, however, express worry about the significant backlog of criminal cases in the Allahabad High Court and asked the Allahabad High Court and the Bar to work together to resolve the situation. "I hope that this new complex would re-energize the Allahabad Bar," the Chief Justice added. I don't want to point fingers or assign responsibility for the pending criminal cases in the Allahabad High Court, which is quite concerning.