An application has been brought before the SC by the All India Loktantra Senani Joint Action Committee, seeking intervention in the writ petition calling for the 1975 emergency to be unconstitutional, and praying that the designation of freedom fighters be granted to persons who are unlawfully detained during the Emergency.
The SC had in December last year agreed to examine whether a simpliciter declaration that the Emergency of 1975 was unconstitutional and whether it would be feasible to probe this issue after a passage of 45 years.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari & Hrishikesh Roy issued notice on the petition and granted leave to the petitioner to amend the petition on the aspect of the restricted issue.
The Applicant Committee states that, for several years now, it has been actively taking steps before the appropriate authorities to ensure that its members are given proper status in society by the former government for their suffering.
It is contended that “The Applicant Committee has been at the forefront of ensuring welfare of the ‘Loktantra Senanis’, i.e. their member victims, and in pursuance of such a purpose have made several representations, both at the State level as well as the Centre level to ensure that the Loktantra Senanis are provided with their well-deserved status and recognition”.
It is also submitted that over 1, 10,000 people from across the Nation were illegally detained during the emergency of 1975-1977. All of them were brutally tortured, mentally and physically, thereafter, many were left with permanent injuries on their body and on their psyche.
Also stated in the petition that several states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, etc. have provided to such victims pension as well as medical help, travelling allowances, and other benefits and formally recognised them as being the ‘Loktantra Senanis’ of the Nation, thus, imparting upon them the honour which displayed the State’s recognition of their suffering.
Also states that, “In fact, all the above states have also proceeded to publish notifications in this regard. However, these facilities were being intermittently provided and were not provided in a consistent manner and often taken away altogether due to the politics in the State as per the convenience of the Party in power at any given time. For instance, Pension and Honours were withdrawn after being bestowed in the States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra merely due to the change of the ruling Party in the State”.
It is said that Madhya Pradesh, because of the Madhya Pradesh Loktantra Senani Samman Adhiniyam, 2018, it was only in the year 2018 that certain Honours and Pensions were restored. However, in the other two States, where such honours have been removed, as mentioned above, the same has not been restored to date.
It is submitted that these people forming part of the Applicant organisation are those who fought for the preservation of “the democratic roots of our Nation, a Nation that every Indian today can be proud of”. In the submission of the Applicant it is stated that had it not been for the struggle of these Loktantra Senanis, then perhaps, “the Nation that we see today could never have existed”.
It is also stated that the various HC have also recognised the plight of the Applicant members and have held that it is the moral and social movements for the public and National cause.
It is submitted that the All India Loktantra Senani Joint Action Committee had organised protests in Delhi -Hunger strike (Anshan) at Rajghat and Protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar on 4th & 5th December, 2019 which was participated by and attended by over 2000 Loktantra Senanis coming from 19 States of India.
It is submitted that 10 States have recognized the Loktantra Senanis/ Applicant members and have also extended Pension or Samman Nidhi to them from Rs. 15,000/- to Rs. 25,000/- per month plus free health and travelling passes. “On the other hand, in the other seventeen States, the Applicant members are still suffering. It is further pertinent to note that many of the Applicant members have died and many are in their sunset period. At present, there are an estimated 50,000 emergency survivors who are suffering physically, psychologically, due to loss of business, service, career, source of income, etc. due to the imposition and atrocities inflicted during the emergency and have not been able to recover from the trauma till date”, it is also stated.