Bungalows to ex-CMs of UP: SC issues notice to state govt

A view of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. Photo: PTI
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the response of the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea seeking action against authorities for alleged failure to get the government bungalows alloted to five former chief ministers vacated.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra sought the reply from the director of estates of the state government within three weeks as to why the government bungalows alloted to the ex-CMs have not been vacated and posted the matter for further hearing to May 2.

During the proceedings, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that he needed time to reply as to whether respondent 7 (Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh) has vacated the bungalow alloted to him in his capacity of the ex-CM of the state or not.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Uttar Pradesh-based NGO 'Lok Prahari' which has sought contempt action against the authorities concerned saying that despite the apex court's verdict of August 1, 2016 against the allotment of bungalows to ex-CMs, they have not vacated them.

The five ex-CMs of UP are Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and N D Tiwari. Another former chief minister Ram Naresh Yadav is no more.

The NGO's general secretary S N Shukla said that five ex-CMs are occupying the bungalows and authorities have failed to make them vacate their accomodations.

In its last year verdict, the apex court had held that the former chief ministers should hand over possession of the bungalows occupied by them.

It had said the state government should also recover appropriate rent from the occupants of the bungalows for the period during which they were "unauthorised" to do so.

It had also said that the local laws only gave largesse to former chief ministers "without any element of reasonableness".

Dealing with the legality of the impugned provisions, it had said, "In our opinion, the 1997 Rules, which permit the former chief ministers to occupy government bungalows for life cannot be said to be valid.

"In the circumstances, respondent no 1 (The State of Uttar Pradesh) cannot permit any former chief minister to occupy any government bungalow or any government accommodation after 15 days from the date on which his term comes to an end."

The UP government has last year passed laws to skirt the verdict of apex court and enable the former chief minister to retain the accomodation alloted to them.

Another plea of Lok Prahari in the apex court which is listed for final hearing, challenges the amendments made to laws to enable the ex-CMs to occupy government bungalows.

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