It was exactly eleven in the morning of June 12, 1975. The editorial meeting like everyday, had to begin that time and I, the Chief of Bureau of the Motherland daily, was more concerned about the results of the State Assembly elections in Gujarat, expected that day having covered the poll campaign there for three weeks at a stretch..,
However, as soon as I entered the room of our Editor, the late Shri K .R. Malkani, he announced that the Rajnarain case against Indira Gandhi relating to the general elections to the Lok Sabha from the Rae Bareilly constituency, the court had held her guilty of corruption, unseated her, and debarred her from contesting any election for the next six years.
This was the most unexpected verdict and for the moment all of us present in the room had forgotten about the Gujarat election. The judgment had come just a few minutes after 10 in the morning.
Later the same day, came the shocking news about the death of the Planning Minister D.P Dhar, probably the most trusted among Indira Gandhi'sCouncil of Ministers.
Still later, towards late afternoon, came the news about the debacle of the Congress Party in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha elections and the victory of the Janata Morcho (Gujarati for Morcha).
These facts are well known even today. But Justice Sinha'sdeath at Allahabad on March 21 at the age of 87, brought back to memory the extraordinary events of June 12, 1975. Instead of repeating facts already known to most people, let us discuss here the perfect timing of the delivery of the judgment that day.
It was time to make public the verdict, since the case had gone on for quite some time. The judge too was aware that the results of the Gujarat poll would be announced on June 12. He, therefore, chose the early morning time of 10 am of June 12 to deliver the judgment The question that arises here is ?Why??
Justice Sinha must have decided that the verdict should not be announced either before or after the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls were announced. That would make it impossible for anyone to allege political bias for or against either party involved in the case.
Not only about the date. Justice Sinha has also chosen the perfect time for the delivery of the judgment He chose 10 am, well before the first results would be announced (Those were not the age of electronic voting machines. Manual counting of votes was the process in vogue that time and it was not possible for any result to be declared before 10 am)
Justice Sinha had thus proved that he was a judge without any bias In later life too he is never known to have gloated over the judgment of June 12, 1975.
Lastly, let me confess that this article is almost a verbatim reproduction of the piece written by my Editor, Shri Malkani, which had appeared in the Motherland of June 13, 1975.