When A Prime Minister Was Put On Trial : Excerpt From Prashant Bhushan’s Book ‘The Case That Shook India’

ColumnsWhen A Prime Minister Was Put On Trial : Excerpt From Prashant Bhushan’s Book ‘The Case That Shook India’ Prashant Bhushan31 Aug 2020 5:35 AMShare This – xThe judge arrived two minutes before 10 a.m. Everybody in the courtroom rose when the judge came in. After taking his seat, he announced that the court conventions dictate that no one should rise when a witness comes in. This however did not prevent some people from rising when Mrs Gandhi came in. Mrs Gandhi took a seat which was specially provided for her. The normal practice is that…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe judge arrived two minutes before 10 a.m. Everybody in the courtroom rose when the judge came in. After taking his seat, he announced that the court conventions dictate that no one should rise when a witness comes in. This however did not prevent some people from rising when Mrs Gandhi came in. Mrs Gandhi took a seat which was specially provided for her. The normal practice is that a witness stands in the witness box. The deviation from convention was made by Justice Sinha after consultation with Bhushan. Her chair was on a raised platform to the right of the judge so that she was on level with the judge. She looked composed and unruffled as she sat down. If she regarded the ordeal before her as something of great significance, she did not give the slightest indication of it. Her appearance was of one who was performing yet another routine task. Khare was called upon to lead the examination, and he was visibly excited. He was the first person to question the Prime Minister in court. The main issues which could turn on Mrs Gandhi’s evidence were (1) whether she held herself out as a candidate prior to 1 February, and (2) whether Yashpal Kapoor actually resigned on 13 January. Khare’s questions were mainly focused on these issues. (3) His examination lasted about an hour. It was now Bhushan’s turn. He was inwardly excited, though outwardly calm, when he got up to begin the task before him. It was a big event for him. Apart from the fact that he would be cross-questioning the Prime Minister, with the whole country watching at least through newspapers, he was also fully aware of the far-reaching political consequences of the outcome of this case. This cross-examination could be crucial to the outcome of the case. Most people who are not familiar with courts visualize a cross-examination as something dramatic where the counsel is supposed to give a theatrical display, Perry Mason style. Most cross-examinations are, however, incredibly dull where little happens in the nature of drama. The cross-examination had not finished when the court rose that day. That evening, all the Opposition leaders who had come from Delhi to witness the cross-examination were invited for tea to Bhushan’s house. Opinion there was almost unanimous, that Mrs Gandhi had fared well on the first day of her cross-examination. She had maintained her composure and was convincing in the manner in which she had answered the questions. Piloo Mody did not enjoy the cross-examination. ‘Why don’t you heckle her? Annoy her a bit!’ he told Bhushan. Bhushan smilingly remarked that on the first day, he had only given her the bait and made her feel confident. ‘Tomorrow she will walk into the trap,’ he said. Little did anyone know that he was indeed serious and was about to spring a surprise. Pandit Kanhaya Lal Mishra wrote to Mrs Gandhi at the end of the first day’s cross-examination, ‘I hear that today’s cross-examination has gone off very well. I am pleased about that. But that still does not alter my opinion that you should not have appeared for the crossexamination.’ His words were indeed prophetic, and later Mrs Gandhi was to regret not having followed his advice. Bhushan took only ninety minutes to complete his cross-examination the next day. The tables had indeed turned. The additional written statement containing the decision of the All India Congress Committee about her constituency had caught her off guard. Till the previous day she had been maintaining that she had taken a final decision to contest from Rae Bareli only on 1 February. Her additional written statement said that a final decision regarding her constituency was announced by the AICC on 29 January. When confronted with this statement, she said that the statement was drafted in legal language which she had difficulty in understanding. Bhushan did not give her time to recover her composure. Although he had some more questions, he decided to end at this point, not taking the chance of losing his advantage. The people at large, who were following the cross-examination, did not, however, catch on to Mrs Gandhi’s blunder till the arguments stage, when it was fully exploited by Bhushan. But the more astute observers caught on. The report of the second day’s cross-examination was headlined in some of the newspapers as: ‘Prime Minister did not know of AICC decision about her constituency’ and ‘PM cannot follow legal language.’ Mrs Gandhi was the last witness of either side to give evidence. The stage was now set for the main battle, the final arguments. The arguments were to start on 21 April. Both sides started preparing for them. Meanwhile, some of the documents, mainly the controversial Blue Book, were examined by Justice Sinha on 2 April. These were the documents on which privilege had been claimed. The Supreme Court, it will be remembered, had ruled that the judge could examine them and then either uphold or reject the privilege as he thought fit. The judge accepted the claim of privilege in respect of some documents and rejected the claim in respect of others, which were then exhibited and admitted as evidence. One further development took place before the arguments started. On 16 April, a writ petition was filed in the court by Raj Narain’s lawyers, challenging the constitutional validity of the R.P. (Amendment) Act. It was challenged mainly on the ground that it was discriminatory and thus violative of Article 14 in its retrospective effect. The stage was now set for the arguments. Raj Narain was in jail at this time because of his participation in a civil disobedience movement. This was not a novelty for him as it was his fifty-second trip to jail since Independence. He had spent more than half the post-Independence period in jails. He, however, was brought every day to Bhushan’s house in police custody, to allow him to brief his counsel on the case. Being of a religious bent of mind, he gave Bhushan a queer stone to keep in his pocket during the arguments as a good luck charm. Although Bhushan is not superstitious, the stone remained in his pocket during the entire arguments. About the book On 12 June 1975, for the first time in independent India’s history, the election of a Prime Minister was set aside by a High Court judgment. The watershed case, Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain, acted as the catalyst for the imposition of the Emergency. Based on detailed notes of the court proceedings, The Case That Shook India is both a legal and a historical document of a case that decisively shaped India’s political destiny. The author, advocate Prashant Bhushan, sets out to reveal the goings-on inside the court as well as the manoeuvrings outside it, including threats, bribes and deceit. Providing a blow-by-blow account, he vividly recreates courtroom scenes. As the case goes to the Supreme Court, we see how a ruling government can misuse legislative power to save the PM’s election. Through his forceful and gripping narrative, Bhushan offers the reader a front-row seat to watch one of India’s most important legal dramas unfold. About the author Prashant Bhushan is an eminent public interest lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, most known for cases such as 2G and Coal Scam. He is also an activist and a founder member of Swaraj Abhiyan-a campaign organization that focuses on various issues such as the environment, human rights, corruption and good governance. He was a prominent member of the group India Against Corruption (IAC) and worked alongside Anna Hazare for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill (Citizen’s Anti-corruption Ombudsman Bill).(Excerpt published with permission from Penguin Random House India’) Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Story read more

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Franglais speaking

first_imgLate last year we featured an article from retail expert MPC, saying that the UK must learn lessons from France if it wants to revive bakery retailing on the high street (BB, Nov 30, pg 14). So what do we find on the streets of Lille? The Covent Garden Expresso Bar and Notting Hill Coffee.In fact, the rise of London-style cafe culture was not the only sign that the French may be taking tips from UK trends. Previously a reserve of the cafés, bakeries now account for around 30% of fresh sandwich production in France – a figure close to the UK. “People want – how do you say – food to go? That’s it! We say ’nomadic’. People eat at any time of the day, which is different to how it used to be,” says JP Broutin, organiser of the Europain exhibition.Of Lille’s bakeries, Yanka, a boutique in the town centre, had the niftiest baguettes and packaging. Meanwhile, sightings of bakery chain Paul were as common as McDonald’s, but its marketing policy of retaining the original features of old-fashioned stores avoids repetitive frontages. Best of the lot, though, was Aux Merveilleux de Fred, which attracted queues to see the bakers at work from the window.In the Lille suburbs, baker Eric Maes said the baguette de tradition, branded La Banette, was gaining sales and made up a quarter of his 2,000-strong daily baguette production. Around 85% of bread consumption in France is baguettes, and white baguettes account for 62% of this, while rustic-style baguettes make up 17% and the rest is the baguette de tradition – a strict back-to-basics standard that was introduced into law in 1992.Maes added the trend in France is towards central units serving a number of shops rather than one-off shops – a development similar to Germany, where bakery firms have an average of seven shops.The most intriguing parallel to UK consumers came with Bakery Aux 2 Moulins. Situated outside Lille, it opened to a 6,000 population that had grown used to 20 years of having no specialist bakery.The locals hated the sourdough when it opened in May 2005, recalls the head baker, M. Bazin. But by explaining the qualities of the stone-baked bread to customers, the hard crust and the open texture, even- tually won them over and tripled its turnover. And that’s despite using ghastly fluorescent hand-written price tags.last_img read more

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Why Arsenal are confident of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace despite £80m valuation

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 28 Jun 2019 11:21 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link620Shares Comment Why Arsenal are confident of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace despite £80m valuation Advertisement Unai Emery will bolster his squad at the Emirates this summer (Picture: Getty)First-team stars Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lucas Torreira have all been linked with summer moves, while Arsenal are also believed to be open to selling Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Calum Chambers.Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas, meanwhile, has urged Gunners boss Emery to sign two centre-backs ‘immediately’.Asked what Arsenal require during the summer transfer window, Nicholas said: ‘Immediately two centre-backs. They need a bit of pace, they’ve never really had the pace at the back.’Arsenal kick-start the 2019-20 Premier League campaign with a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United.More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira moves Arsenal are confident of signing Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace (Picture: Getty)Arsenal are confident of signing Wilfried Zaha this summer despite Crystal Palace’s £80million valuation, according to reports.Ivory Coast international Zaha has rocked the Eagles by reportedly pleading with the club to reach a transfer agreement with London rivals Arsenal, who he supported growing up.The 26-year-old returned to Palace in 2015 following an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United and enjoyed another impressive season for the south London club, scoring ten goals and providing five assists in the Premier League.Zaha has previously admitted he may have to move on to realise his ambitions and has now decided he wants to join the Gunners, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityArsenal are now preparing an official offer for Zaha, who Palace have insisted is not for sale unless an offer of around £80m is presented.That could prove to be a stumbling block for Arsenal, who only have around £45m to spend this summer, but the Gunners remain confident of striking a deal, according to the Daily Mirror.It is claimed the north London club are buoyed by Zaha’s desire to wear an Arsenal shirt, and believe Palace will be forced to accept a substantially lower fee when push comes to shove.Arsenal may also have more than £45m to spend during this summer transfer window if they are able to offload several players. Advertisementlast_img read more

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Cricket News Abhimanyu Mithun Takes Hat-Trick On Birthday, Karnataka Beat Tamil Nadu To Win Vijay Hazare Trophy

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: Abhimanyu Mithun took a five-wicket haul, including a hat-trick on his birthday as Karnataka sealed a 60-run win via the VJD method against Tamil Nadu to lift the Vijay Hazare Trophy. This was the first time since 2017 that Karnataka had lifted the Vijay Hazare Trophy, having won against Saurashtra in the final by 41 runs. It was a fitting end for a side that had dominated the tournament right from the beginning but it was a wonderful story of redemption for Mithun, who became the first Karnataka bowler to take a hat-trick on a birthday.With the threat of rain later in the day, Karnataka won the toss and chose to bowl and they started off brilliantly when Mithun had Murali Vijay edging second ball to KL Rahul to be dismissed for zero. Ravichandran Ashwin, promoted up the order, scratched around for eight before he was sent back by V Koushik. Abhinav Mukund and Baba Aparajith stitched a solid stand, with Mukund looking fluent. Mukund went past fifty and looked good for a century but the 124-run stand ended when Mukund holed out to Mayank Agarwal off Prateek Jain.Vijay Shankar started off aggressively as Aparajith went past his fifty. However, he failed to capitalise on a good score. Dinesh Karthik fell cheaply but Shankar helped Tamil Nadu cross 200. Shahrukh Khan struck a good cameo but Mithun was superb at the death overs. After getting rid of Shankar, Mithun took a hat-trick in the final over. His first victim was Shahrukh when he holed out to Manish Pandey. M Mohammed followed suit and the hat-trick was completed when Murugan Ashwin was caught by Krishnappa Gowtham for 0. Mithun finished with 5/43 in 9.5 overs as Tamil Nadu managed to reach 252 all out.The hosts were boosted when Washington Sundar conceded 15 runs in his first over and Devdutt Padikkal smashed two boundaries off Ashwin. However, Karnataka lost Padikkal for 11 when Sundar breached his defences but KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal stitched a brilliant stand. Agarwal continued the momentum by lofting Shankar inside out over extra cover while Thangarasu Natarajan was smashed for three fours in one over. Also Read | KL Rahul Blasts His Highest List A Score, Stays In Selector’s RadarAgarwal continued to bat aggressively and he was given good support by Rahul as the duo made rapid progress. Agarwal notched up his fifty off 41 balls and he continued on his merry ways by launching Murugan Ashwin for his third six. Rahul notched up his fifty with two boundaries off Mohammed but the rain came down after the end of 23rd over. After a 40 minute halt due to the rain, the umpires reckoned that there was not enough time to finish the match and Karnataka were crowned the champions for the fourth time.last_img read more

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