SC asks Centre to specify reasonable time for vacating of bungalow by Sharad Yadav

The top court also told Yadav that he will have to furnish an undertaking that he will vacate his bungalow on a specified date.
Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) patron Sharad Yadav (File photo| PTI)
Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) patron Sharad Yadav (File photo| PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to specify what reasonable time could be given to former Union minister Sharad Yadav on humanitarian grounds to vacate the government bungalow allotted to him as he is undergoing treatment for multiple ailments.

The top court also told Yadav that he will have to furnish an undertaking that he will vacate his bungalow on a specified date.

The Centre informed the top court that there was a shortage of government accommodations and Union minister Pashupati Nath Paswan is waiting for Yadav's bungalow to be vacated.

A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said that it is not going into the politics of the matter but thinking to sort out the problem purely from the humanitarian point of view.

At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Yadav, said that his term is ending in July and he is willing to give an undertaking that he will vacate the bungalow by then.

"This man has to undergo dialysis every other day. He was on a ventilator during COVID time and is suffering from various ailments. I am not saying I will not vacate the bungalow but give me some reasonable time," Sibal said.

Yadav was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2017.

He had moved the top court challenging an order of the Delhi High Court directing him to vacate within 15 days the government bungalow here as he was disqualified from the Upper House in 2017 on the application of his then party JD(U).

The petition by 75-year-old Yadav said his case "deserved sympathetic treatment" on account of his ill health.

It said he has been hospitalised 13 times since July 2020 and was last discharged in February.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said that there is a shortage of government accommodation in the city and many ministers need to be allotted bungalows after the expansion of the Cabinet.

"Union Pashupati Nath Paswan is waiting for the allotment for a long time. He (Yadav) was disqualified from Rajya Sabha. His writ petition on disqualification is pending adjudication", Jain said.

He said that now the "cat is out of the bag" as just after the high court order he has merged his party with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), just to retain the bungalow.

Sibal said that he never said that Yadav will not vacate the bungalow but some reasonable time be given on humanitarian grounds.

The bench asked Jain to seek instruction and posted the matter for further hearing on Thursday.

The high court had on March 15 directed Yadav to "hand over the bungalow at 7, Tughlak Road here to the government within 15 days", saying more than four years have elapsed since he was disqualified as an MP.

In his plea before the apex court, Yadav has said he is residing there for 22 years and the high court had passed the order even though his challenge to his "improper and erroneous disqualification" has not been decided by the court.

"In terms of the impugned order, the high court appears to have revived a disposed of application and passed further orders therein vacating the earlier interim order of the high court dated December 15, 2017 and directed the petitioner to hand over the possession of his official residence within a period of 15 days," said the plea, filed through advocate Javedur Rahman.

This was done, "despite the fact that the challenge to the legality of his disqualification from Rajya Sabha is still pending before the high court", it said.

The petition said Yadav was disqualified from the Rajya Sabha on December 4, 2017 in terms of Paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for purportedly having given up the membership of his party.

He was then an MP of Bihar's ruling JD(U), which had sought his disqualification for attending an opposition rally in Patna.

The high court had disposed of an application by the Centre seeking to lift a stay on the vacation of the government bungalow occupied by him in the national capital as he was disqualified as an MP.

"The December 15, 2017 order stands vacated," the high court had said and listed the main petition for hearing on April 21.

It had said until and unless Yadav's disqualification is set aside, he has no right to occupy the government accommodation and added that the provision of perks, including residential accommodation, are provided to the functionaries of the state to enable them to discharge their duties.

The high court had said the perks are conferred to any individual personally and they are not given for life.

Yadav had approached the high court in 2017 challenging his disqualification from Rajya Sabha on several grounds, including that he was not given any chance to present his views by the House chairman before he passed the order.

On the other hand, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, then the leader of the JD(U) in Rajya Sabha, had sought disqualification of Yadav and his colleague Ali Anwar as they had attended a rally of opposition parties in violation of the party directives.

Yadav joined hands with the opposition after the then JD(U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had dumped the alliance with the RJD and the Congress and tied up with the BJP in July 2017.

Anwar's term expired in 2018.

Both were disqualified under the Anti-Defection Act.

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