Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani on Sunday charged the Congress with trying to make the late Sanjay Gandhi a scapegoat for all the “misdeeds” during the the Emergency and said its promulgation was “an unforgivble crime against democracy".
In the latest post "Emergency of 1975 akin to Nazi rule" on his blog, Advani said that the book published by the Congress, "Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation," carries just two curt paragraphs to tell the country what happened during the Emergency of 1975-77 but has two pages about factors leading to the Emergency, including Jayaprakash Narayan’s “extra-constitutional and undemocratic movement” and the Allahabad High Court’s verdict charging former prime minister Indira Gandhi with violating the election law to win her seat and invalidating her election.
Referring to the paragraph mentioning Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi's son, Advani said it is “a ridiculous attempt to make Sanjay Gandhi a scapegoat for all the misdeeds the country had to suffer during the Emergency".
“In the last sixty years, whenever the executive has found a judicial verdict unpalatable, its reaction has been to have the verdict undone by mobilizing legislative support for the executive’s view point. In 1975 also this was sought to be done by amending the law in respect of electoral corruption.
"But Mrs. Gandhi did not stop there. Without consulting her cabinet, or even her law minister and home minister, she made president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed invoke Article 352 to put democracy under indefinite suspension," Advani wrote.
He added: "The Congress party publication indicates that the party regrets only the ‘excesses’ committed during the Emergency, because Sanjay Gandhi promoted worthwhile causes such as slum-clearance, anti-dowry measures, and literacy, but in an arbitrary and authoritarian manner."
Advani said he holds that “promulgation of the Emergency itself was an unforgivable crime against democracy and that the constitution makers had never ever conceived that any prime minister of independent India would so grossly abuse Article 352 of the Constitution.”
The BJP leader said almost all MISA (Maitenance of Internal Security Act) detenues had filed habeas corpus petitions in their respective state high courts and at all places and almost all the courts rejected the government’s objection.
“The diary I used to maintain while I was in prison records the names of 19 judges who were transferred to other high courts because they had decided against the government!”
He also noted that pronouncing majority judgement in the appeal, the Supreme Court bench comprising of chief justice AN Ray, justices HR Khanna, MH Beg, YV Chandrachud and PN Bhagwati (Khanna dissenting ) declared: “In view of the presidential order dated 27 June, 1975 no person has any locus standi to move any writ petition under Article 226 before a high court for habeas corpus. The appeals are accepted. The judgements of the high courts are set aside.”
Advani also recalled that Khanna, in his dissenting judment, observed: “...Supposing a law is made that in the matter of the protection of life and liberty, the administrative officers would not be governed by any law and that it would be permissible for them to deprive a person of life and liberty without any authority of law. In one sense, it might in that event be argued that even if lives of hundreds of persons are taken capriciously and maliciously without the authority of law, it is enforcement of the above enacted law. Thus, in a purely formal sense, any system or norm based on a hierarchy of orders, even the organised mass murders of Nazi regime, can qualify as law.”
Advani said that in its editorial after justice Khanna delivered his landmark judgement, the New York Times wrote April 30, 1976: “If India ever finds its way back to the freedom and democracy that were proud hallmarks of its first 18 years as an independent nation, someone will surely erect a monument to Justice HR Khanna of the Supreme Court."