In his disqualification Rahul Gandhi joins illustrious Grandmom Indira
NEW DELHI, MARCH 24: Indira Gandhi’s arrest on December 20, 1978 had triggered nationwide strikes and protests. The Congress party supporters and workers demanded her immediate release. In the face of national unrest, Indira Gandhi was freed from prison on the night of December 26, 1978 after spending one week (that is from December 20) in detention for breach of privilege and contempt of Parliament.
Rahul Gandhi on Friday, March 23, joined the illustrious club of his Grandmom Late Indira Gandhi.
On June 12, 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices.
The Judge had declared the election verdict in the Rae Bareilly constituency “null and void”, and barred Indira from holding elected office for 6 years. While the charges of bribery were dismissed, the Court had found Indira guilty of misusing Government machinery. The Court order gave the then Congress (R) 20 days to make arrangements to replace Indira Gandhi in her official posts.
The verdict helped galvanize the opposition political parties, who demanded that Indira Gandhi resign from office immediately. Jayaprakash Narayan, the leader of the Janata Morcha, a coalition of opposition political parties, called for a campaign of civil disobedience to oust Indira’s Government.
On June 25, 1975, a state of Emergency was declared by the President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed making Indira and her son Sanjay Gandhi all powerful.
In 1978 during the Janata regime under Prime Minister Morarji Desai, the Lok Sabha expelled ‘former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’ from membership of the Lok Sabha for having repeatedly committed breach of privilege and contempt of the House.
She was also sentenced to jail. The historic decision awarding the unprecedented punishment came at the end of a 15-hour tumultuous debate spread over several sittings on December 20. The issue was debated since December 8, 1978.
The motion to send Indira to prison and expel her was carried by 279 votes in favour and 138 against. Thirty-seven members abstained. The House also had resolved that her former aide, RK Dhawan, and former chief of the CBI, D Sen, be committed to jail.
Indira Gandhi’s jail term was to be effective till the prorogation of the session. This was the first time that a former Prime Minister was imprisoned for breach of privilege and contempt of the House anywhere in the world, said a report.
This is also the first time that a Member of Parliament has been sentenced to jail by the House.
On May 7, 1981, the Lok Sabha rescinded the December 19, 1978 resolution moved by the then
Prime Minister Morarji Desai, under which Indira Gandhi was expelled from the House and sent to prison.
The House adopted Congress-U member BR Bhagat’s motion setting aside the findings of the 1978 Privileges Committee and the resolution of the House. Except the DMK and the Muslim League, the entire Opposition had walked out against the ruling of the Speaker Balram Jakhar, who had overruled all the objections of the Opposition members that the motion could not be taken up under the Rules of the House.
Notably, besides BR Bhagat and seconder CT Dhandapani (DMK), those participating in the debate included Brahmananda Reddi, Mohan Lal Sukhadia, Ashok Sen, Jagannath Kaushal, Vithal Gadgil (all Congress-I), K Mayathevar (DMK), GM Banatwala (Muslim League) and Frank Anthony (Nominated).