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Indian democracy UPSC NOTE

 The emergency

  • The Emergency, imposed on June 25, 1975 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and which lasted 21 months till March 21, 1977, remains a blot on the history of democratic India. 

  • The rule by decree, the suspension of civil liberties and free speech, the arbitrariness of government actions, and the indiscriminate arrests of dissenters and Opposition figures using draconian preventive detention laws, among other measures, continue to haunt Indians who experienced it in all its vicious forms. 

The current turmoil

  • When freshly elected and returning Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla read out a resolution, “condemning the imposition of Emergency” and termed it as an attack on the Constitution

  • But seen in the light of Mr. Birla’s actions, when, as Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha, he indiscriminately used his powers to suspend several Opposition MPs, and the executive’s use of draconian laws to stifle dissent from civil society, the polity and the media, the resolution seems not much more than lip service against the Emergency. 

  • It seems more a political ploy to target the Congress party. 

  • If the government of the day is truly committed to undo the damages of the Emergency and not repeat its grave errors, it would have not taken recourse to the same measures in the recent past, seen in the attack on the free press, the use of enforcement and investigative agencies to selectively target Opposition representatives, and draconian preventive detention laws to keep political prisoners, activists and journalists in jail without trial, including by the foisting of charges against them. 

  • The BJP’s authoritarian actions are one reason why its electoral representation in the 18th Lok Sabha has been trimmed to below the majority mark. 

  • A more thoroughgoing Opposition in Parliament that questions ruling party high-handedness; a vigilant judiciary that ensures justice to the many unjustly held dissidents; and a civil society that pushes for the withdrawal of draconian preventive detention laws and a ruling party that coheres with these — only such substantive steps will enable India to decisively move on from the dark period of the Emergency.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Indian democracy UPSC NOTE
Indian democracy UPSC NOTE
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