Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, said he would give his order on Indira Gandhi’s plea for staying the operation of the Allahabad High Court judgment at 3.45 pm on June 24. The court started hearing Gandhi’s stay application, which was argued by Nani Palkhivala, at 11.30 am on June 23. The sitting went on for over five hours without a break. Palkhivala stated that Gandhi was entitled to an absolute stay because the HC judgment was based on flimsy grounds.
Referring to the two counts which the HC held against the prime minister, namely the erection of rostrums at government expense and the enlisting of the services of Yashpal Kapoor, a government employee, Palkhivala said the court came to the conclusion based on surmises and not on the basis of election law. It was asserted that in an election case, the evidence must be like that in a criminal case. But when the rostrum direction was issued by the Centre in a routine way, Gandhi had no knowledge of it. Therefore, she could not be accused of a guilty mind, the counsel argued. On Kapoor’s resignation, he argued that there was no authority which said that the oral resignation of a government servant could not be accepted.
The home secretary was replaced, “the intelligence bureau chief [was] informed about his retirement in August” and a joint secretary in the prime minister’s secretariat was repatriated to his parent UP cadre, according to a report by Kuldip Nayar.
Waiting for justice
Jayaprakash Narayan and senior opposition leaders held consultations on the issue of Indira Gandhi’s resignation. Finally, they decided to wait for the Supreme Court ruling.
General P.N. Thapar, who headed the Indian army during the Sino-India war, died in New Delhi of a heart attack. He was 69.