Allahabad HC Verdict Disqualifying Then PM Indira Gandhi Judgment of Great Courage: CJI

The CJI said that the judgment could have led to the declaration of the Emergency.

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New Delhi: The 1975 verdict of Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad high court, disqualifying then prime minister Indira Gandhi on charges of electoral malpractices was a judgment of “great courage” that “shook” the nation, leading to imposition of Emergency, CJI N.V. Ramana said on Saturday, September 11.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI), who along with President Ram Nath Kovind, took part in programmes, including the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Uttar Pradesh National Law University in Allahabad and a new building complex of the Allahabad high court, recalled the rich traditions and contributions of one of the oldest high courts in the country.

“In 1975, it was Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha from the Allahabad High Court who passed the judgment that shook the nation, when he disqualified Smt Indira Gandhi. It was a 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,” Justice Ramana said.

The CJI said that the Allahabad high court has a history of more than 150 years and its bar and bench have produced some of the greatest legal luminaries in the country.

The June 12, 1975, verdict delivered by Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad high court had convicted the then prime minister of electoral malpractices and debarred her from holding any elected post under the Representative of Peoples Act.

The verdict is widely believed to have led to imposition of Emergency on June 25, 1975.

Indira Gandhi had won the 1971 Lok Sabha election from the Rae Bareli seat in Uttar Pradesh by defeating her opponent Raj Narain. The defeated leader had challenged her election alleging electoral malpractices saying that Gandhi’s election agent Yashpal Kapoor was a government servant and that she used government officials for personal election related work.

On the same day, LiveLaw reported the CJI has having championed the cause for setting up of National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation “in order to strengthen judicial infrastructure and improve access to justice by catering to the ever-rising number of cases and litigants and their changing needs.”

“Courts in India still operate from dilapidated structures, without proper facilities. Such a situation is severely detrimental to the experience of litigants and lawyers. It is an unpleasant work environment for court staff and judges, making it difficult to effectively perform their functions. We neglected and failed to focus on providing good infrastructure for courts in India after the British left,” Justice Ramana said.

The head of the judiciary said the importance of strengthening judicial infrastructure cannot be overstated.

“That is the reason why I am championing the National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC), which will develop concepts of the National Court Development Project and its implementation. The NJIC shall be along the lines of different infrastructure development statutory bodies that work towards creating National Assets across the country. One of the design principles that the NJIC will follow, is socially responsible and inclusive architecture,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)