December 6, 1978, Forty Years Ago: George and Charan
Hectic efforts continued to resolve the Janata crisis, but neither has George Fernandes withdrawn his resignation nor has Charan Singh given up his threat to tell Parliament why he left the government last summer. Both have, however, agreed to wait for “some time” more at the request of several ministers and the party president, Chandra Shekhar, who are trying their best to see that the Janata does not reach a point of no return. Their feeling is that once Fernandes’ resignation is accepted or Charan Singh makes the statement in Parliament, the differences in the party may become insurmountable.
Jailing Mrs Gandhi
The retributive logic of Emergency seemed to be closing in on Mrs Gandhi with the Union Cabinet deciding to push through in the current session of Parliament a bill to set up special courts to try Mrs Gandhi and some of her associates for Emergency offences. The decision came two days before Parliament is to discuss the Privileges Committee report holding her guilty for committing breach of the privilege of the Lok Sabha by obstructing collection of information for a parliamentary question on Maruti. Senior Janata leaders were veering round to the view that Mrs Gandhi should be sent to prison and expelled from the Lok Sabha.
The original proclamation of Emergency dated June 25, 1975, signed by the late President, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, is available on record and is not missing, the Minister of State far Home, Dhaniklal Mandal, stated in the Lok Sabha today. This denial by the government of press reports gave rise to a point of order from P G Mavlankar (Ind), who wondered how the notice was accepted by the Speaker, K S Hegde, without ascertaining the home ministry’s reply. The speaker confessed to a “lapse” on his part in admitting the notice and assured the member that he would take greater care in future.