शुक्रवार, 16 अक्तूबर 2015

ये धुंधली और कोई नहीं है कांग्रेस की बुद्धि है और धुंधकारी अबुध कुमार हैं

जस्टिस जगमोहन लाल सिन्हा की याद एक बार फिर ताज़ा हो गई है जिन्होनें  इंदिरा कांग्रेस की चूलें हिला दी थीं। इंदिरा अम्मा ने देश पर इमरजेंसी थोप दी थी। तब केंद्र में  इंदिरा की ही सरकार थी। वर्ष था १९७५ महीना था जून का और कोर्ट था अलाहाबाद (इलाहाबाद )हाईकोर्ट। मामला था रायबरेली के चुनाव में धांधली।

धांधली करना कांग्रेस का पेशा रहा है। धुंधली का बेटा धुंधकारी ही होगा।

ये धुंधली और कोई नहीं है कांग्रेस की बुद्धि है और धुंधकारी अबुध कुमार हैं।

तब से लेकर अब तक संगम -सरयू -गोमती में बहुत पानी बह चुका है।

कांग्रेस शासन के तमाम दस साला सब इसकैम्स  की खाला है यह हेराल्ड मामला जो एक नया इतिहास लिखेगा। एक बार फिर कोई सिन्हा की तरह भारत हृदय सम्राट बनेगा। कचहरी को इसकैम्स की अम्मा मायनो खरीद न सकेंगी और ये एक परिवार के उकील कहे जाने  वाले तिब्बल सिब्बल सिंघवी तिवारी मनीष आदि मामले को कब तक मुल्तवी रख पाएंगे। ईद थोड़ी किसी से टलती है -बकरा और उसकी अम्मा कब तक खैर मनाएगी। नेहरुकालीन "सामना "बोले तो हेराल्ड अभी कश्मीर की तरह यूएन में नहीं गया है इसलिए सुलझ जाएगा। कचहरी में देर भले हो अंधेर नहीं है। उकील नुमा अपने सारे घोड़े खोलके देखलें सुब्रामनियम स्वामी एक तरफ सिब्बल सिंघवी एक तरफ।

Judgement that shook Indira and sent a shiver across India few days later.


Judgement that shook Indira October 17, 2010   5:47:24 AM

What prompted Mrs Indira Gandhi to take the extreme step of declaring Emergency and suspending fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution to the people of India? Satya Prakash Malaviya recalls the historic judgement that triggered Mrs Gandhi’s decision.

Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of Allahabad High Court passed away in Allahabad on March 20, 2008, at the ripe old age of 88 years. His mortal remains were consigned to flames the same day but he will always remain immortal in the history of Indian judiciary. He was undoubtedly a great, bold, unbending and fearless judge. His courage was unsurpassed by any other judge of any High Court of our country since independence or even prior to that.

Justice Sinha heard the election petition Number Five of 1971 filed by petitioner Raj Narain against Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, challenging her election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 from the Rae Bareli parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, home State of both the petitioner and the respondent.

The hearing of the election petition took more than four years, concluding on May 23, 1975, and the judgement was reserved. It was later announced that the judgement would be pronounced on June 12, 1975. Then came the momentous day when the judgement was to be pronounced. On June 12, courtroom No. 24 was jam-packed with lawyers, litigants and the general public. No sooner than the clock struck 10 am, Justice Sinha, then aged 55 years, stepped into the courtroom through the entrance door of his chamber and assumed his seat. Everyone waited with bated breath. He read only the operative portion of his findings and pronounced the judgement amid pin drop silence. Mrs Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha in 1971 was declared void, she was pronounced guilty of corrupt practices under Section 123(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and was disqualified from membership of Parliament or a Legislative Assembly for a further period of six years. There was stunned silence.

The judgement ran into 258 pages. I was present in the courtroom throughout the day. I had earlier appeared as the petitioner’s witness No 36 and was subjected to cross-examination by the counsel of Mrs Gandhi.

The main point in issue in the election petition was the date when Mrs Gandhi held her out as a candidate for the 1971 Lok Sabha election. The petitioner’s case was that she held her out as a candidate immediately after dissolution of the Lok Sabha on December 27, 1970 and Mrs Gandhi’s pleading in the case was that she held her out as a candidate for the first time on February 1, 1971.

Mrs Gandhi also appeared in the witness box, she was subjected to cross-examination by the petitioner’s counsel and Justice Sinha closely observed her demeanour. Discussing the testimony of Mrs Gandhi, Justice Sinha observed, “The counsel of respondent No. 1 (Mrs Gandhi) even suggested that while assessing the weight of the evidence of respondent No. 1, the fact of high office held by her should not be ignored. The status and respectability of the witness alone cannot, however, induce the court to accept her testimony, more so when she is herself a party to the proceedings and interested in the result of the case. In such cases, the evidence of that person has to be assessed without in any manner being obsessed by the high office that she may hold. The evidence of the respondent No. 1 should, therefore, be assessed according to established principles like the evidence of any other witness without in any manner being influenced by her high office.”

The evidence of Mrs Gandhi on the point in issue was not accepted by Justice Sinha and he observed “the evidence leaves no room for doubt that the respondent No. 1 held herself out as a candidate before January 25, 1971. The plea of respondent No. 1 that she held herself out as a candidate for the first time in the first week of February 1971 is not established to be true.”

It is interesting, gratifying and satisfying to note that while not relying on the testimony of Mrs Gandhi, Justice Sinha never used harsh language. He was very careful and used dignified, polite and restrained language. Some of the words or sentences used by Justice Sinha in the judgement are as under:

“The statement does not appear to me to be natural or probable.”

“All that I would say is that the statement made by the respondent No. 1 fails to satisfactorily explain the inconsistency.”

“I regret my inability to accept her evidence. Her plea has no legs to stand on.”

“I have given my very careful and dispassionate consideration to the reply given by the respondent No. 1 and I regret my inability to accept it.”

“The plea, therefore, appears to be an afterthought and I have already discarded the respondent No. 1’s testimony.”

In his judgement, Justice Sinha also observed, “There is the evidence of S Nijilingappa (Prosecution Witness 14), Arjun Singh Bhadoria (PW l5), Mr SP Malaviya (PW 6), Karpoori Thakur (PW 37), Ram Saran Das (PW 38), Banarsi Das (PW 40) and Mr LK Advani (PW 44). Though they belong to the Opposition parties, the fact remains that all of them are public workers of some repute. Each one of them stated on oath that the statement made by the respondent No. 1 at the Press conference on December 29, 1970, was construed by them to mean that the respondent No. 1 was not changing the constituency.”

Just within 13 days of the historic judgement delivered by Justice Sinha on June 12, 1975, the nation had to go through the trauma of the internal Emergency called on June 25, 1975, which landed me at Model Jail, Lucknow, for 19 months.

In March 1977, Mrs Gandhi had to face a humiliating defeat and the electoral rout of her political party and the end of her uninterrupted rule at the Centre. The Indian people forcefully and wonderfully reasserted their inalienable right to justice, liberty, equality, fraternity and democracy. Mrs Gandhi was thrown out of power by an alert and vigilant electorate. It was a revolution — a peaceful and non-violent change of Government through the magic of ballot boxes — followed by the meteoric climb of the Janata Party to power in March 1977. Democracy emerged gloriously triumphant over dictatorship and autocracy.

Promulgation of internal Emergency while the external Emergency was already in force by Mrs Gandhi was a Himalayan blunder on her part. MC Chagla, in his autobiography Roses in December, described the decision of Mrs Gandhi to declare internal Emergency as “the most disgraceful and dishonest in Indian history”.

It has also been disclosed that Justice Sinha could not be tempted, he did not submit to pressures. According to Mr Shanti Bhushan, Raj Narain’s counsel in the election petition, “While the case was being heard, the then Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Justice DS Mathur, visited Justice Sinha. He was related to the Prime Minister’s personal physician. Justice Mathur told Justice Sinha that Justice Sinha’s name had been considered for the Supreme Court. Of course, Justice Sinha maintained a discreet silence.”Chief Justice Mathur could have been hauled up by Justice Sinha for committing a gross contempt of court.

Mr Shanti Bhushan has also disclosed that Justice Sinha declined the offer he had made as Law Minister in 1977 to transfer him to the Himachal Pradesh High Court so that he could be elevated as Chief Justice when a vacancy arose.

It is well known that after Justice Sinha delivered his judgement, he was put under constant surveillance of the Government’s intelligence agencies who were trying to fabricate a link between him and Jayaprakash Narayan. The fact is that Justice Sinha never met JP even once — either before or after he had delivered the judgement.

Mrs Gandhi was so annoyed with Justice Sinha that in a fit of rage in Mumbai on September 19, 1979, she said that “a petty judge has disqualified me on flimsy grounds”.

In November 1982, two years after Mrs Gandhi had come back to power, Justice Sinha was invited to deliver the third Jayaprakash Narayan Memorial Lecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on the topic, ‘The Constitution, the Judiciary and the People.’ In the lecture that Justice Sinha delivered, he stressed on the desirability of a strong judiciary for the survival of democracy in India. He remarked that if the judiciary loses its independence, our political system would become undemocratic. On what is expected of a judge, he added, “A judge wears the robes not to flaunt his authority, but to remind himself that he is the high priest in the temple of justice and is charged with obligations of a most sacred character that he cannot avoid fulfilling, whatever the risks involved.”

Referring to the risk of incurring the displeasure of the executive in being true to one’s judgement and conviction, Justice Sinha remarked, “Let a few heads roll here and there but the chariot of justice must be driven on and on, manned by honest and independent people who will mind no sacrifice too high to keep the chariot moving along its path.” He said that in a republic like India, “the judges represent the people and it is the people’s faith that matters. A silent majority always stands solidly behind such judges who discharge their duties without fear or favour.”

He emphasised that in India, the judiciary should remain independent and that “it should not stumble whatever the obstructions in the way and it should not stoop in any manner, whatever the temptations and threats. The faith in the supreme lord above and of the people below is a sacred trust deposed in the judges and it has to be preserved at all costs”.

A large number of distinguished personalities and intelligentsia of Delhi listened to Justice Sinha in rapt attention. For three days, he was prominently in print in the leading daily newspapers of the capital. Senior officers of the then Indira Gandhi Government were annoyed with the organisers of the lecture and even expressed the Governments’ displeasure.

Justice Sinha bowed before the Constitution of India and the temple of justice only. He religiously stuck to the solemn oath that he took under Article 217 of the Constitution in accordance with the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule before he entered upon his office as a judge of Allahabad High Court which read as under “I, JML Sinha, having been appointed judge of the High Court in Allahabad, do swear in the name of god that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgement, perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill will and that, I will uphold the Constitution and the law.”

His judgement of June 12, 1975, did the entire judicial system proud. He was a judge of whom any nation would be justly proud of. His indomitable courage and judicial independence will continue to inspire and remind the present and future generations about what he did in upholding the independence of judiciary which is the cornerstone of our Constitution.

Now is also the appropriate time to remember and pay my humble tribute to my dear friend, RC Srivastava, a senior advocate and a former judge of Allahabad High Court who laboriously built the edifice of the election petition and relentlessly encouraged Raj Narain to file and pursue the petition while others were discouraging him not to do so. Alas, he passed away two years ago.

-- The writer is a former Union Minister. With this article, we conclude our series marking the 35th anniversary of Mrs Indira Gandhi’s Emergency which she declared on June 25, 1975.

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