SC agrees to examine Constitutional Validity of proclamation 1975 Emergency

Anushka Mansharamani

On 14th December the Apex Court agreed to examine one of the most controversial emergencies passed in India – 1975 National Emergency by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Supreme Court agreed to investigate whether it can go into the Constitutional Validity of the emergency.

A notice was passed to the Central government by the bench stating that the petitioner would be heard on this matter.

The main point to be discussed would be whether a constitutional validity of such a proclamation can be probed by the Court after several years.

The Supreme Court bench stated

“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 passed the order after Advocate Harish Salve, representing the petitioner contended that the court has the authorization to examine the constitutional validity of the emergency.

Harish Salve stated that as war crime and post-world war issues are being raised and addressed this issue must also be decided by the court as it was a “fraud on the constitution.”

He further stated, “This is not a matter for political debate. Didn’t we see what happened to prisoners during an emergency.” and that “The issue is so far-reaching, for 19 months, there was an abuse of power.”

At first, the court was hesitant to hear the matter but later agreed to examine the validity of the proclamation.

The plea was filed by Vera Sarin, a 94-year-old widow who sought a declaration that the national emergency was unconstitutional.

It was further stated that she along with her husband were forced to leave the country due to the false unjustifiable and arbitrary detention orders passed against him.

They left the country due to the fear of being thrown in jail and for this, she prays for damages of Rs. 25 crores.

It was submitted that her husband was framed under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 and Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act, 1976 (SAFEMA).

The Delhi High Court held in 2014 that the proceedings under SAFEMA lacked jurisdiction and therefore concluded nullity.

It was submitted that before the emergency her husband had a prospering business of gems, artefacts etc, at KG Marg and Karol Bagh in New Delhi.

She claims that not only was her immovable property seized but also the movable property which consisted of gems, ivory, paintings, statues which were worth crores of rupees and there has been no restitution for the same till date.

It was also submitted that after her husband died in 2000 she had to face all the legal proceedings that were initiated against her husband.

Pertinent to note that after the governments order in July 2020 the Delhi High Court directed payment of all the liabilities to the Sarin and other legal heirs.

It was alleged that many times policemen and other officials would enter her house and would refuse to leave her alone until she offered them leftover pieces of valuables.

The petitioner only seeks closure from the court and acknowledgement of her sufferings and therefore has filed the present petition.

Also read- Supreme Court to hear plea seeking 1975 emergency “unconstitutional”

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