Advocate Shanti Bhushan, who took up the case against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, bypassed every allurement and pressure of power. That case was Raj Narayan vs Indira Nehru Gandhi.
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as a very capable and successful lawyer Shantibhushan There is a list of many famous cases in his long career, but the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi The only case related to this is heavy on all of them. As a lawyer for socialist leader Rajnarayan, Shantibhushan was successful in getting Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha canceled from Rae Bareli in 1971 in this case. On June 12, 1975, this decision of the Allahabad High Court created a stir in the country. Subsequent events, 21 months of Emergency, its lessons and lessons, everything is an important part of the country’s history.
Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha, who gave the verdict of this case, is also remembered for his unwavering commitment to justice. Also because he sidelined every allurement and pressure of the power. And especially because two years after this decision, he politely turned down even a better offer from the changed government. The case was Raj Narayan vs. Indira Nehru Gandhi etc.
Indira Gandhi’s election from Rae Bareli was challenged in 1971
Why was this case filed? First understand this. In the 1971 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress (R) under the leadership of Indira Gandhi registered a landslide victory by securing 352 seats. Indira Gandhi herself won from her traditional Rae Bareilly seat with a huge margin. His opponent was veteran socialist leader Raj Narayan, the candidate of the opposition Grand Alliance. Voting took place on 7 March 1971. The counting of votes started from 9 March. According to the results declared on March 10, Indira Gandhi got 1,83,309 votes and Rajnarayan got 71,499 votes.
Speed in Justice Sinha’s court case
Rajnarayan was not ready to accept this defeat. Through advocate Ramesh Chandra Srivastava, he presented the election petition before the Additional Registrar on April 24, 1971, the last date of the fixed period, to cancel the election of Indira Gandhi in the Allahabad High Court. It was listed before Justice Broom. In the petition, Indira Gandhi was made the first respondent and independent candidate Swami Advaitanand the second respondent.
In 1974, this petition came to the bench of Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha. Since then its hearing gained momentum. In the beginning, the main allegation was about the use of invisible chemicals in the ballot papers. Allegations of corrupt practices were registered as ancillary issues.
Shantibhushan was ready to fight the case on this condition
Rajnarayan appointed Shantibhushan as his advocate. Shantibhushan gave his consent on the condition that the case would be fought seriously and not for publicity. He sidelined the use of invisible chemical on ballot papers as baseless. Allegations of corrupt practices in favor of Indira in the election developed so much that they came at the center of the decision. This case brought fame to Shantibhushan at the national-international level in legal fields.
In his autobiography Courting Destiny, he wrote that a qualified lawyer and former Additional Solicitor General flirting with him said, “Your case is heavy on all the important cases coming before the Supreme Court. It was your luck that you got a chance to defend this case. Shantibhushan has written that many important clients he got after Indira Gandhi’s trial called me a lawyer saying that when you can win against the Prime Minister, we are not worried about handing over your case to you.
in the witness boxprime minister for the first time
Not only after the decision of the case, but also during its hearing, there was tremendous stirring. Shanti Bhushan has written, ‘When I started the debate, I felt that Justice Sinha was not giving any special importance to the case, but from the third day when he started taking notes, I realized that he is taking it seriously. The team of Indira’s lawyers was headed by senior advocate Satish Chandra Khare. Arguments were presented from both the sides for thirty-three days. An important date in the case was March 17, 1975, when a Prime Minister of the country appeared in the court docket for the first time as a witness. Justice Sinha had banned the entry of the police into the court premises that day.
Justice RB, who was practicing in those days and later became a judge in the Allahabad High Court. Mehrotra recalled that the lawyers had ensured the security of the prime minister by forming a human chain. The registrar had strict instructions that no one would stand as a witness when the Prime Minister reached the court. Although a chair was installed for Indira Gandhi. On Indira’s arrival, her advocate Satish Chandra Khare was seen rising slightly from his chair. His testimony lasted for two days. Shantibhushan cross-examined him.
Indira’s testimony was considered unreliable
Shantibhushan realized that there is a lot of contradiction between Indira’s oral statement as a witness and the written statement presented earlier. On the second day of testimony, Shanti Bhushan presented both of them in front of Indira and humbly asked that tell the court who is right in this? After a silence, Indira replied that legal terminology was used in the written statement and she had not noticed it while signing it. Shantibhushan read that statement and asked to tell which words are in it in legal language? Actually the statement was in simple English. Indira could not give any satisfactory answer. Justice Sinha had considered Indira’s testimony as unreliable.
Arguing against Indira’s application to stay the Allahabad High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court, Shantibhushan had argued that one who lies before the court can be eligible to continue as Prime Minister?
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