ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Law and Order-When Frankenstein Takes Over...

September 7, 1974 relevant security considerations, progress of the process of normalisation of relations with Pakistan and the overall economic situation in the country.' For the first time, the government was citing an internal factor, namely the economic situation in the country, as part of the justification for the continued state of national emergency. Emergency powers have, how- ever, been used for internal repression for some time. The Defence of India Rules which embody the emergency powers were used to ruthless advantage by the government to smash the railway strike in May. It, perhaps, fears another upheaval in the country around November (which could be the reason the International Trade Fair was quietly cancelled lest it synchronise with the upheaval) and feels the need for these emergency powers. But it should be recalled that the country has known one kind of preventive detention legislation or the other since the 1950s. The five-year life of the last Preventive Detention Act ended amidst a serious crisis in the Congress party in 1970. The CPI which had backed Indira Gandhi in the Congress split of 1969 faced an awkward dilemma because it had in principle opposed any preventive detention legislation and would have had to vote against another lease of life for the black act, which meant that the minority Indira Gandhi ministry ran the risk of defeat in the Lok Sabha on the issue. The way out was to let the state governments enact their own preventive detention laws depending on their needs. Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have the record of enacting laws more draconian than the Central act that lapsed.

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