7 Dec 2020 8:39 AM GMT
"What kind of a plea is this?", noted the Supreme Court on Monday while adjourning the plea filed by a 94 years-old widow, seeking for the Proclamation of Emergency in 1975 to be declared as unconstitutional and for a compensation to the tune of Rs. 25 crores from the authorities who have participated in the same. A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was presiding over the...
"What kind of a plea is this?", noted the Supreme Court on Monday while adjourning the plea filed by a 94 years-old widow, seeking for the Proclamation of Emergency in 1975 to be declared as unconstitutional and for a compensation to the tune of Rs. 25 crores from the authorities who have participated in the same. A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was presiding over the matter and was informed by Dr. Neela Gokhale, Advocate for the Petitioner, that the matter would be argued by Senior Advocate Harish Salve. Justice Kaul remarked at this juncture, "What kind of a plea is this? After 30-35 year."
Gokhale then referred to an order passed by the Allahabad High Court in July 2020, which directed for payment of rents arrears of a property which belonged to the petitioner's husband, which was subjected to proceedings during Emergency. Accordingly, the Bench proceeded to list the matter next Monday. Drawn by Advocate Dr. Neela Gokhale and filed by Advocate-on-Record Anannya Ghosh, the plea avers that "the present petition is a plea for justice and restitution of a lifetime spent in utter misery and anguish on account of the atrocities suffered by the Petitioner, her deceases husband and her family". Relying on the 2017 judgment of KS Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs. Union of India which overruled the 5-Judge Bench decision in ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla (1976), the plea states that the burial of the darkest chapter in Indian democracy is yet to provide respite to the Petitioner who suffered atrocities at the hands of the authorities during the Emergency period. As victims of the Emergency, the petition recounts that the then government authorities, in their bid to plunder businesses and homes of victims, targeted the Petitioner and her husband with unjustifiable and arbitrary detention orders, and consequently led to them fleeing the country. "His business was shut down, assets and valuables including immovable property was seized and appropriated. The Petitioner's husband succumbed to the pressure and died. Since then the Petitioner has been single-handedly facing all proceedings initiated against her husband during the Emergency period, which were arbitrarily pursued". Referring to the judgment of the Delhi High Court passed in December 2014 which ultimately quashed the proceedings against the deceased husband of the Petitioner, the plea then conveys that valuables worth crores of rupees from the flourishing business of the husband, which were seized, are yet to be restituted. Additionally, it was only vide order dated 28th July, 2020, that the High Court directed for payment of arrears of rent for one of the properties to the Petitioner and other legal heirs. However, it has been contended that other valuable movable properties have been siphoned away. "Needless to say, that the valuable movable properties have been siphoned away and illegally appropriated by many government authorities and private persons during the time of emergency. Ironically, the Petitioner's son had the most unpleasant experience and was shocked to see few of the stolen pieces of his mother's jewellery up for sale in New Delhi". At her advanced age, the Petitioner has sought for the fulfillment of a simple desire to achieve closure to her trauma and receive an acknowledgment of her suffice. In light of this, the instant plea has been filed before the Supreme Court.