The Supreme Court is scheduled on Monday to hear a 94-year-old widow who wants the Emergency proclaimed in 1975 to be “wholly unconstitutional”.
Veera Sarin said she and her family were victims of the excesses of that “grave and dark period of our nation’s history”. A three-judge Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul will hear the petition represented by advocates Anannya Ghosh and Neela Gokhale.
Their gold jewellery and diamond business based in Karol Bagh and Connaught Place in the National Capital were plundered by the government authorities during the Emergency, when civil rights and liberties were suspended.
Her husband never recovered from the shock of the family business going under. He was slapped with cases, they were threatened by the police and their family properties were raided repeatedly. One of the cases foisted against her husband, H.K. Sarin, under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act of 1976 continued from 1975 to 2014 until the Delhi High Court declared it a “nullity”.
Even then, it took another three years, on July 28 this year, to get a partial compensation for the government’s “illegal possession” of their immoveable properties. Ms. Sarin has sought a compensation of ₹25 crore.
“The petitioner is 94 years old and seeks closure to the trauma of her lifetime, which still resonates in her mind, “ the petition said.
“Even as on date, the movable properties including jewellery, artefacts, figurines, paintings, sculptures, and other valuables have still not been reinstituted to her family. The petitioner is entitled to be compensated for the acts, deeds and things done under the authority of the government,” it said.