SC to consider whether it can examine the constitutionality of 1975 emergency

The Supreme Court Monday agreed to examine whether it can go into the Constitutional validity of the 1975-national emergency proclaimed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy said that it would restrict itself to the limited aspect of whether the examination of the 1975-national emergency was feasible or desirable after a lapse of 45 years.

The bench also issued notice to the Central Government.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by 94-year-old Vera Sarin seeking a declaration that the presidential notification proclaiming the 1975 national emergency was unconstitutional.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the emergency was a fraud on the Constitution.

In her plea, Sarin said that before the emergency, her deceased husband had a flourishing business of gold arts, gems, artefacts, etc. at Karol Bagh as well as at KG Marg, New Delhi but they had to leave the country for fear of being thrown into jail, “in pursuance of unjustifiable and arbitrary detention orders issued against her husband.”

The plea also stated that the petitioner’s husband was framed under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (COFEPOSA) and Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976 (SAFEMA).

The plea said the petitioner’s husband had died and she had to face the legal proceedings which were initiated against him.