Chapter

The Punishment that Failed

Granville Austin

in Working a Democratic Constitution

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780195656107
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080397 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.003.0023
The Punishment that Failed

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It was to be expected that a reckoning would be demanded for the imposition of the Emergency in June 1975 and its attendant events and excesses. The nation had been terrorized and tens of thousands of citizens imprisoned, including many of those who became members of the Janata government. Yet neither the Janata government nor the country agreed about the action to be taken. Prime Minister Desai said his government would not be vindictive, and he ruled out a ‘witch-hunt’. Law Minister Bhushan joined him in this restraint. Home Minister Charan Singh said the wrongs of the Emergency should neither be forgiven nor forgotten and justified a trial on the ‘Nuremberg model’. As it was, the image of vengeful ineptness from the failed prosecution and its stain on the government's claim to democratic functioning greatly hastened its downfall.

Keywords: Janata Party; Moraji Desai; Shanti Bhushan; Charan Singh

Chapter.  6323 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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