DEHRADUN : In a move to dilute the Uttarakhand High Court’s direction regarding privileges and perks provided to former chief ministers, the Trivendra Singh Rawat government has secured the governor’s assent on an Ordinance in the matter.The Ordinance legalizes the provision of a government bungalows, vehicles, drivers and other staff, alongside various other perks, to former CMs.
Titled ‘The Uttarakhand Former Chief Minister Facility (Residential and Other Facilities) Ordinance 2019’, the Ordinance got the seal of approval from Governor Baby Rani Maurya on Thursday. It was tabled in the state cabinet meeting before being sent to the governor’s office last month.However, the ordinance clarifies that no ex-CM, demitting office after March 31, 2019, will be entitled to the benefits.
As per the Ordinance, the allottees of government bungalows will have to pay a rent, which is to be decided by the state government. They will also have to clear the electricity and water bills.However, the fuel costs of vehicles, wages of drivers, public relations officer, gardener, watchman, telephone attendant and other staff will be borne by the public exchequer.
Kartikey Hari Gupta, the counsel for the petitioner in the matter, said, “My client has instructed me to challenge the ordinance.” He said he will build his case around the argument that the act of bringing the Ordinance itself is abuse of law.“The Supreme Court has held that ordinances can only be passed when urgent action has to be taken. In this case, however, there was no need for urgent action,” the counsel said.