Saturday, March 25, 2006

CHAPTER-1: THE EMERGENCY

Internal emergency was imposed in June 1975. It was a difficult period for the country as well as for us. Many would ignore us (see End Note-1). They were afraid of being arrested or persecuted.

VKS Chaudhary & Krishna Chaudhary in the office immediately after his release.  


We had little money and I hadn’t started earning. I had just shifted to Allahabad. My father VKS Chaudhary, a Senior Advocate of the Allahabad High Court, was first arrested under DIR. He was granted bail. A few refused to furnish bail bonds for him. Even when we managed the bail bonds, he was not released; instead a detention order under MISA was passed. He spent twenty-one months, the entire period of emergency, in jail. 

We had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the High Court against my father’s illegal detention. Jagdish Swarup, former Solicitor General of India, appeared for him. One day he came over to our house and wanted my mother to perform PUJA for Lord Shiva. This was for my father’s release. My mother, who had faith in God but not in the rituals or PUJA, politely declined. She came from ARYA SAMAJI background. We won from the High Court on the preliminary point about maintainability of the petition but lost the case from the Supreme Court. 

I did many Habeas Corpus petitions, bail applications under DIR during that time, not because I had any experience, but because I did them free. We were in the same boat. I was involved in all cases mentioned in this chapter. 

VKS Chaudhary being facilitated in a function by Bar Association after his release. Jadish Swarup is on the left. 

I would like to place on record that Jagdish Swarup who appeared for my father in the High Court and Soli Sorabji in the Supreme Court did not change any fee for their appearances. Rajju Bhaiya not only helped us emotionally in those difficult times but also financially. He could not keep the money in the bank for the fear of it being illegally confiscated. 

I was a counsel in the Habeas Corpus case and in all cases mentioned in the article Logbook 100-111. 

End Note-1: Today, with democracy deeply rooted, it is difficult to imagine the terror and the state of affairs during the emergency. Nani Palkhivala in a letter to me explained his reasons for not appearing in the Habeas Corpus case as follows, 
'It was a time of total despair to be a witness to the wrongs that were done to the people...I would have certainly appeared in ADM Jabalpur's case [Habeas Corpus case discussed in the next section] if I had any hope that the Supreme Court judges would act judiciously and in an impartial manner.' 
But the majority did not act in that manner. 


Justice SD Agarwala, former Chief Justice, Punjab & Haryana High Court penned his thought about the articles in the first chapter titled 'The Emergency' as follows: 
'The experience ... written in black and white [in the next articles Habeas Corpus case and Logbook 109-111] .. of the Emergency will go down in the history of the judiciary, and will ever remind the citizens of the country, the manner in which the people were dealt with during the said period.'
Tags: Internal Emergency, habeas Corpus

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