Forty Years Ago, August 1, 1978: Desai-Charan Letters

The release of the correspondence between a prime minister and home minister would seriously impair and hinder free functioning of parliamentary government and collective responsibility, Shanti Bhushan said.

By: Editorial | Updated: August 1, 2018 12:10:51 am
Forty Years Ago The Indian Express’ Front Page (Archive)

The perusal of the controversial Morarji Desai-Charan Singh correspondence by leaders of opposition parties has led to further intensification of the demand for making the letters available to Parliament. The plea was unanimously reiterated by the Opposition in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, the law minister voiced the government’s opposition to tabling of the letters in the House. The release of the correspondence between a prime minister and home minister would seriously impair and hinder free functioning of parliamentary government and collective responsibility, Shanti Bhushan said.

Desai’s Son

While the letters controversy was raging in Parliament, the prime minister came out with a stout defence of his son Kantibhal Desai. Desai drafted a letter in response to Janata MP, Hukum Narain Singh, who had previously written an angry letter to the PM protesting his asking Charan Singh and Raj Narain to quit the government. In his four-page reply, the PM has given reasons for his asking Charan Singh and Raj Narain to quit his government and also how Kantibhai Desai had come under attack whenever Desai was in government in one capacity or the other. Mr Desai said in his letter: “My son has no contacts with any business. When he came to me in 1964, he left his business which yielded good profit.”

Nuclear Explosions

Prime Minister Morarji Desai ruled out an open debate among nuclear scientists on the necessity of nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes. In the Rajya Sabha, Desai said it would be a “folly” to start a controversy among scientists. The House was considering a calling-attention motion, sponsored by Kalp Nath Rai (Cong-I) and 26 others, on Desai’s reported statement that India would not undertake explosions even for peaceful purposes and his views on the Pokhran explosion of 1974.

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