GUEST ON BOARD: We are joined by Priya Mirza, who teaches political science at Zakir Husain Delhi College. Priya is the host of The Longest Constitution podcast, which looks at how the vision of the Constitution and how it affects everyday life!
On 12th June 1975, 4 years after the 1971 Indian general elections, incumbent Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was found guilty by the Allahabad High Court of electoral malpractices. The complaint against her was filed by Raj Narain, her opposing candidate in the constituency of Rae Baraeli. The Court convicted her of election fraud, stripped her of her parliamentary seat, unseated her as the Prime Minister, and barred her from holding office for another 6 years.
And how did Mrs. Gandhi respond? By locking down the entire country under an “Emergency” for over 2 years.
Mrs. Gandhi also followed this up by passing the 39th Amendment to the Constitution, which barred any court in India from challenging the election of any person to Lok Sabha holding the office of Prime Minister. This Amendment was struck down later by the Supreme Court for trying to amend the Basic Structure of the Constitution. So Mrs. Gandhi was basically told a resounding “NO” at least twice by Indian courts.
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