NEW DELHI: THE Supreme Court on Monday directed six former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh to vacate their official bungalows in Lucknow in two months and pay rent at the market rate for the period falling under unauthorised occupation and held that they were not entitled to government accommodation for lifetime.
The former chief ministers are Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and Congress leaders N D Tiwari and Ram Naresh Yadav.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Anil R Dave delivered the judgment on a PIL petition filed by the UP-based NGO Lok Prahari challenging the rules framed by the authorities for allotting bungalows to former chief ministers for life in violation of the UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981.
Under the 1981 Act, chief ministers were supposed to vacate their official residences in 15 days after demitting office, while the rules framed in 1997 allowed them to retain the bungalows for life. Any rule framed in violation of the Act was bad in law, the apex court held while quashing the 1997 rules. The apex court also clarified that former chief ministers could not be equated with former Presidents and Vice-Presidents who were allotted government accommodation for their life or with former Prime Ministers who were entitled to official bungalows for 10 years. It also rejected the state’s contention that it had to allot the bungalows as most of the former chief ministers were getting Z-plus security. Since the security was being provided by the Centre, giving accommodation was its responsibility, the court said.
“No other constitutional functionaries such as governors, chief justices, or Union ministers were allowed to enjoy government accommodation post-retirement or two bungalows (one in their home state and another at the place of their office),” the bench noted. “So far as allotment of bungalows to private trusts or societies are concerned, it is not in dispute that all those bungalows were allotted to the societies/trusts/organisations at the time when there was no provision with regard to the allotment of government bungalows to them and therefore, in our opinion, the said allotment cannot be held to be justified.”