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After 45 years, SC to consider validity of Emergency

After 45 years, SC to consider validity of Emergency

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre on a plea filed by a 94-year-old woman seeking to declare as wholly unconstitutional the proclamation of Emergency in 1975.

While agreeing to hear the plea, a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said the Apex Court would also examine whether it is "feasible or desirable" for it to examine the validity of proclamation of Emergency after a lapse of 45 years.

"We are having difficulty. The Emergency is something which should not have happened," the top court observed while pondering over as to what relief can it grant after the passage of such a long time.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for petitioner Veera Sarin, said that Emergency was a fraud and the greatest assault on the Constitution as rights were suspended for months.

The Emergency was proclaimed minutes before the midnight of June 25, 1975, by then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed at the recommendation of the then government led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The proclamation was revoked in March 1977.

Salve said the petitioner had suffered during the emergency and the court should see how she was treated during that period.

"In the world, war crime is being punished, gender crimes are being punished. History cannot be allowed to repeat," he said, adding, "for months, rights were suspended. It was a fraud on the Constitution."

"This was the greatest assault on our Constitution. This is a matter which people of our generation will have to look into. This needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. This is not a political debate. We all know what happened in jails. Maybe we are too late for relief but someone must be told that what was done was wrong," Salve told the bench.

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