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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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26 June 1975

26 June 1975

(p.295) Chapter 13 26 June 1975
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

On June 26, 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi told the nation in a radio broadcast that with Parliament not in session, the President had declared an emergency because of turmoil and incipient rebellion in the country. During the wee hours of the night just passed, Mrs Gandhi had been composing democracy's death notice. There had been mass arrests of opposition leaders and others in New Delhi and in many states. The Constitution's Fundamental Rights were suspended, public gatherings and meetings of more than five persons banned, and preventive detention provisions made more stringent. A few days later, the Prime Minister announced the Twenty-Point Programme of social-economic reforms. Soon, talk of changing the Constitution began. At the same time, the Emergency bred hatred of over-centralized authority. Instead of protecting the seamless web, the Emergency distorted it beyond the imagination of the founding fathers.

Keywords:   emergency powers, Indira Gandhi, Fundamental Rights, rebellion, New Delhi, social-economic reforms

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