The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea on whether or not it can examine the constitutional validity of the national Emergency declared in 1975 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, reported Live Law.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by 94-year-old Vera Sarin, who sought that the presidential notification proclaiming the 1975 national Emergency be deemed unconstitutional. She also sought a compensation to the tune of Rs 25 crore, according to Live Law.
In a notice issued to the Centre on Monday, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, however, mentioned that they will only look into the matter on whether a proclamation, like that of the Emergency can be probed “after such a long time”. The court asked the petitioner to amend her plea by December 18.
In her plea, Sarin submitted that she along with her husband were compelled to leave the country for fear of being jailed, Bar and Bench reported. She said that her husband was “framed under” Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 and Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act, 1976.
The petitioner said that their movable and immovable properties worth “crores of rupees were also seized and there has been no restitution of the same till date.” Sarin said that after her husband died in 2000, she had to single-handedly face all legal proceedings initiated against him during the emergency period.
Appearing for Sarin on Monday, senior advocate Harish Salve called the period of Emergency an “abuse of power”. “There are certain things in history which we have to revisit and see if correct thing was done,” Salve said. “This abuse of power was so enormous, it has scarred our country. Your lordships must declare that the emergency proclamation was wrong.”
On being asked about the need of going into the matter after 45 years, Salve said: “If history is not corrected, it repeats itself.”
The court in its order said it “would be disinclined to open all such aspects”, where a person might have been wronged 45 years ago. However, it agreed to look into if it would be “feasible or desirable” to examine such a case after “a passage of time and issue”.