The 1975 judgment disqualifying the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was a judgment of great courage, Chief Justice NV Ramana said at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new building complex of the Allahabad High Court by President Ram Nath Kovind. The event also involved laying the foundation stone of the new National Law University, proposed to be established in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj
“The Allahabad High Court has a history of more than 150 years. In 1975, it was Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha, who passed the judgement disqualifying PM Indira Gandhi, which shook the nation,” he said.
The Chief Justice further called the order “the judgment of great courage, which could be said to have directly resulted in the declaration of Emergency. The consequences of which I do not want to elaborate now.”
The Allahabad High Court had held that Indira Gandhi was guilty of electoral malpractices and disqualified her from holding public office for six years. It led to the imposition of Emergency in the country for two years.
Chief Justice Ramana, while speaking at the event, expressed his gratitude and respect to President Kovind.
“I would like to take a few moments to place on record my gratitude for the support that the Honourable President of India always gives to the legal community. As a former lawyer himself, he understands the troubles and difficulties faced by those in the legal community and has always taken an active role in attempting to resolve any issues faced by us,” he said.
The top judge said it was the President’s idea to translate the judgments of the Supreme Court to vernacular languages to increase access to justice, which has now been implemented.
“He has been showering me with his love and affection on me like a family elder since the time I met him this morning at the airport in Delhi. He was kind enough to ask me to visit the cities of Lucknow and Allahabad during his tenure. I am extremely grateful for his kind gesture of facilitating my visit to these two historic cities, “he said.
The event was also attended by Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and other dignitaries.
The Chief Justice also spoke about Law Minister Rijiju and said that he appreciated his outlook towards strengthening judicial infrastructure to increase access to justice. “I thought he is from elite background. But this morning I got to know from him that he is also from the rural background. He understands the difficulties of common people,” he said.
Chief Justice Ramana said he was “overwhelmed” to be in the ‘City of Kumbh’ which is home to legendary freedom fighters and gave at least five Prime Ministers and five Chief Justices to independent India.
However, he also expressed concern over the long pendency of criminal cases in the Allahabad High Court and requested the Allahabad High Court and the Bar to work on resolving the issue. The Chief Justice said, “I hope that this new complex will re-energise the Allahabad Bar. I do not want to point any fingers or lay any blame regarding the pendency in the Allahabad High Court relating to criminal cases, which is very worrying. I request the Allahabad Bar and Bench, to work together and cooperate to resolve this issue.”