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Indira and Courts

How Indira Gandhi controlled courts in India

In 1973, Indira Gandhi appointed Justice A.N. Ray as the Chief Justice of India, that too when the list of senior judges like Justice JM Shelat, KS Hegde & AN Grover were in front of her. Ultimately all 3 judges resigned coz of resentment. After this, Congress replied in the Parliament, “It’s the job of the govt to decide whom to keep as CJI & whom to not & we’ll appoint only those who are close to our ideology”

In 1975, Justice Jagmohan Sinha had to deliver a verdict. The verdict was in the case of electoral corruption of Raj Narayan vs Indira Gandhi. He gets a phone call saying, “If you passed the verdict against Indira, then tell your wife not to fast for Karvachauth this year”. To which Justice Sinha comfortably replied, “Fortunately my wife passed away 2 months back”. Justice Sinha then gave a historic judgment, which is still seen as an example. This shook the Congress govt & to avoid this, Emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi. Indira had to be saved, not the nation.

In 1976, AN Ray repaid the favor done to him by Indira Gandhi in the case of Shivkant Shukla vs ADM Jabalpur. The bench set by him ended all his fundamental rights There was only one brave judge in that whole bench whose name was Justice HR Khanna who told the fellow Chief Justice, “Can you see yourself in the mirror after this?”. Justices AN Ray, HR Khanna, MH Baig, Y.V Chandrachud & PN Bhagwati were included in this bench. All of them appeared in the list of Chief Justices except one Justice whose name was Justice HR Khanna. Khanna ji was punished by Indira’s govt & Justice MH Baig, sitting below him in experience & seniority, was made the CJI. The same judge MH Baig was made the director of National Herald after his retirement. This National Herald newspaper is the same newspaper in whose scam today Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi are out on bail. It was completely a Congress paper & in a way worked like a mouthpiece of the Congress. To everyone’s surprise, Justice Baig accepted the appointment.

In 1980, when Indira Gandhi returned to the govt, this MH Baig was appointed as the chairman of the minority commission. He remained in this position till 1988 & he was also honored with “Padma Vibhushan” by Rajiv Gandhi.

In 1962, another new case of Judge Behrul Islam came to the fore, which is very important for you to know. Mr. Islam was the MP of Rajya Sabha of Congress only during 1962 & he also contested Loksabha election on Congress ticket. He was defeated. He was again made MP of Rajya Sabha in 1968 from Congress side itself. He resigned from the Rajya Sabha in 1972 & was made a judge of the Guwahati High Court. He retired in 1980. When Indira Gandhi returned again in 1980, this same Mr. Islam was given back the title of “Justice Behrul Islam” & was directly made a judge of the Supreme Court. This happened after 9 months of his retirement from the Gauhati HC.

Indira Gandhi completely wanted that she should have “control” over all the courts. At that time, the allegations against Indira Gandhi & the Congress during the emergency were being heard in various courts. He proved very useful for Indira Gandhi & clearly for the Congress as well. Judge Islam resigned from his post a month later & once again contested from Barpeta in Assam on a Congress ticket. Elections could not be held in the year in which he was going to stand, so once again he was made MP of Rajya Sabha from the Congress side.