Madhya Pradesh government has decided to grant honorarium to those who spent at least a day in prison during 1975 Emergency. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday.
The decision was taken after a controversy over the pension fixation of Union Social Welfare Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot. With the new provision, persons detained under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR) even for a day will be entitled for a pension of Rs 8,000 per month. The pension is named after Jayaprakash Narayan.
With the amendment a person who was detained for a period of one month or more will be eligible for a monthly pension of Rs 25,000, a government communique said. The government prefer to call the amount as honorarium instead of pension.
Earlier in May, the BJP had to come in defence of Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot after a police complaint was filed against him for allegedly producing fake documents of jail stay during 1975 emergency to claim Rs 25,000 honorarium. State BJP President Nandkumar Singh Chouhan said that Gehlot was being dragged into an unnecessary controversy.
An RTI activist has procured documents from Ujjain jail which said Gehlot had spent 14 days in jail between December 23, 1975, to January 6, 1976. However in an application before the committee deciding the pension for MISA detainees, Gehlot claimed that he spent 30 days in jail. BJP president said said there is a conspiracy to malign the image of minister who has done nothing illegal. His documents are verified by a high level committee. In fact he had spent 54 days in jail’’.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had taken the decision to grant honorarium to MISA detainees in 2008. At that time the amount of pension for jail term of minimum six months was Rs 6,000 per month while that for three months was Rs 3,000. Later it was increased to Rs 25,000 with a single clause of spending more than 30 days to become entitled.
When the pension amount was hiked to Rs 25,000, 28 fresh applications were submitted. Gehlot was one of them. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh also gets this pension.