In India, Supreme Court Judge, Krishna Iver, has turned down Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi's application for an absolute and unconditional stay of a High Court conviction for corrupt electoral practices.
In India, Supreme Court Judge, Krishna Iver, has turned down Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi's application for an absolute and unconditional stay of a High Court conviction for corrupt electoral practices. Instead the Judge granted a conditional order staying a six-year disqualification from office and allowing her to continue to lead the Government, but restricting her rights in Parliament, including her right to vote.
There was strict security in force at the New Delhi Supermen Court on Tuesday (24th June) where a crowd hostile to Mrs Gandhi had gathered to wait for the Judge's decision. When the Advocate came from the Judges Chambers to announce his decision, they were mobbed by newsmen anxious for the details. Mrs Goyal, Advocate for Mrs Raj Narain, the leader of the Indian people's Party who brought the initial charges against Mrs Gandhi, read out the details of the judgement. There were cheers iron some of the crowd when they heard of the Prime Minister's plight.
But in spite of this second damaging legal setback, Mrs Gandhi has continued to present a brave face. She spoke to a large crowd of supporters who had gathered outside her home, but made no mention of the Supreme Court ruling. She told the crowd that powerful forces had always come in the way of the Government's plans to uplift the poor - an obvious allusion to the affair. The atmosphere was gay with bands playing martial tunes and several hundred Moslem women singing patriotic songs.
The main opposition parties grouped in the people's Front immediately began tolan their next move should Mrs Gandhi refuse to resign. On Wednesday (25th June) they announced they will hold a mass rally in New Delhi to launch a nationwide campaign of passive resistance to drive the Prime Minster from office. The rally will be addressed by Mrs Gandhi's most significant rival, By Prakash Narayan, who chaired Tuesday's opposition strategy meeting.