A former legislator from Devgad, Janardhan ‘Appa’ Gogate, has refused to lie under oath and claim a medical reimbursement from the government, which he could have by simply filing an affidavit stating that he or his wife had undergone a family-planning surgery.
Under a rule made in 1961, which was amended later, any legislator (sitting or retired) with three children born before August 15, 1968, and two children born before May 1, 2001, can claim medical reimbursements by producing a doctor’s certificate authenticating that the surgery had been performed.
The 88-year-old MLA, who represented the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for four consecutive terms between 1985 and 2004, has been waging a battle against the government asking to relax this rule, alleging that the government is deliberately denying ex-lawmakers the relief they need most in their old age.
The tussle started last year when the state legislature asked him prove that he had planned his family, so that he could avail of Rs1.60 lakh that he spent on his wife Pramila’s angioplasty. When Gogate contested the government’s rule, and a former speaker faced a similar problem, the government relented.
They told them that now, instead of the certificate, they are only required to state in an affidavit that they have undergone the surgery.
Gogate has, however, refused to do so and said this rule should be done away with it altogether. “Why should I lie under oath and say that one of us [the couple] underwent a surgical procedure to plan our family? I did not compromise my integrity when in power or otherwise. I would rather relinquish my claim or make the government change the rule,” Gogate said through his youngest son Prakash, as the bed-ridden leader suffers from a hearing disability and was unable to speak to HT over the phone.
Speaking on his father’s behalf, Prakash contested the new condition. “My father did plan his family effectively after my birth (Prakash was born in 1970). My parents cannot be forced to lie under oath now,” he said.