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Arun Jaitely Says Indira Gandhi Was No Different Than Hitler

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions

Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely
Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely. flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday compared former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who imposed Emergency, to Hitler, stating that both used the Constitution “to transform democracy into dictatorship”. Jaitley, whose second blog of a three-part series coincided with the 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency, also noted that unlike the German dictator, Gandhi went ahead to transform India into a “dynastic democracy”.

“Both Hitler and Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship,” he said. The BJP leader said Gandhi imposed Emergency under Article 352, suspended fundamental rights under Article 359 and claimed that disorder was planned by the opposition.

Jaitley said Hitler, who became the German Chancellor on January 30, 1933, got his President to invoke Article 48 of the country’s Constitution which gave emergency powers for the “protection of people in the State”. “The decree giving emergency powers put restrictions on personal liberty, free speech… The pretext for imposition of Emergency was that on February 27, 1933, German Parliament House, known as ‘Reichstag’, had been set on fire.

“Hitler claimed that it was a communist conspiracy to burn Government buildings and museums. Thirteen years later, in the Nuremberg trials, it was established that Reichstag fire was the handiwork of Nazis and Goebbels had conceived it.” He said Hitler arrested most opposition MPs.

“Indira Gandhi arrested most opposition MPs and, therefore, procured, through their absence, a two-third majority of members present and voting and enabling the passage of several obnoxious provisions through Constitution amendments,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions, “a power which Dr. (B.R.) Ambedkar had said was the very heart and soul of India’s Constitution”. “They also amended Article 368 so that a Constitution amendment was beyond judicial review. There were a few things that Hitler did not do which Gandhi did.


“She prohibited the publication of Parliamentary proceeding in the media. The law which gave mandate to the media for publishing Parliamentary proceedings was popularly known as the Feroze Gandhi Bill,” he said. Since Hitler’s own election has been set aside, he had no change to make in this regard.

Also read: ‘1984 riots shut our doors to a better life’ (October 31 is the 32nd anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s assassination)

“Gandhi amended both the Constitution and the Representation of People Act. The Constitution amendment made the election of the Prime Minister non-justiciable before a court. “The Representation of People Act was retrospectively amended to insert those provisions so that the invalid election of Gandhi could be validated by changes in law.” He said amendments to the constitution made during Emergency were later reversed by the Janata Party government. (IANS)

Next Story

WHO Declares Coronavirus a Global Health Threat

WHO: World Needs to Be on Alert for Dangers Posed by Coronavirus

WHO coronavirus
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks next to Michael J. Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus at the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

By Lisa Schlein

GENEVA – For the third time in one week, a World Health Organization Emergency Committee will meet to decide whether the new coronavirus poses a global health threat.  The latest number of confirmed cases has risen to 7,700, including 170 deaths.

The two previous emergency meetings ended inconclusively.  WHO experts were split on whether the spread of the coronavirus was large enough to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  But this quickly evolving disease may change some of the doubters’ minds.

WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praises the strong response taken by the Chinese government to try to stop the epidemic.  This includes the lockdown of Wuhan city, the epicenter of the disease and other cities in the country where the virus has been identified.

WHO coronavirus
Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. VOA

But he acknowledges that events on the ground in China and abroad are moving too quickly to be ignored.  He says the emergence of any new pathogen with the potential to cause severe illness and death is of grave concern and must be taken with utmost seriousness.

“The continued increase in cases and the evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China, are, of course, both deeply concerning.  Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak,” he said.

So far, at least 70 cases of coronavirus have been found in more than a dozen countries, including the United States.  All of these cases are being imported by travelers from China.  An increasing number of countries are screening arriving passengers for infections and isolating them for the two-week incubation period.

WHO coronavirus
Chinese family wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus walk in a pedestrian crossing in Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

Executive director of WHO health emergencies program, Michael Ryan, says the situation is very fluid and changing by the hour.  He says the whole world needs to be on the alert now and take whatever action is needed to stop transmission of this deadly virus.

“We are at an important juncture in this event,” he said.  “We, as WHO believe that these chains of transmission can still be interrupted.  This disease is spreading from person-to-person through personal contact between individuals.”

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Ryan says the epidemic can be stemmed through proper hygiene, proper identification of cases, isolation and social distancing.  He says the Emergency Committee will consider the merits of declaring a global public health emergency.

He says the WHO experts are likely to recommend a series of temporary actions for countries to undertake in a coordinated, measured fashion.  He says efforts to end an epidemic are always more effective when countries work together. (VOA)