Supreme Court of India strikes down Uttar Pradesh law allowing former Chief Ministers to keep government house

Supreme Court of India strikes down Uttar Pradesh law allowing former Chief Ministers to keep government house

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India (SCI) today struck down the amendment to a Uttar Pradesh legislation which allowed former chief ministers retain government accommodation even after demitting office, saying it violated the concept of equality,nnA bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the amendment in the legislation was ultra vires to the Constitution since it transgresses the concept of equality under the Constitution.nnThe bench said the amendment was “arbitrary, discriminatory” and violates the concept of equality.nnThe apex court said that once such persons demit public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man.nnThe apex court had on April 19 reserved its verdict on an NGO’s plea challenging amendments to the UP legislation allowing ex-chief ministers of the state to continue occupying government bungalows.nnThe top court had earlier observed that if the provision, which has been challenged by NGO Lok Prahari, was held invalid, then similar legislation in other states might also come under challenge.nnThe NGO had challenged the amendments made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the ‘UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981’.nnIt had also challenged another UP law of 2016 called ‘The Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department Bill-2016’ to regulate the allotment of government accommodation to trusts, journalists, political parties, speaker and deputy speaker of legislative assembly, judicial officers and government officials.nnThe court had earlier said that it had given an opportunity to the Centre and all states to express their views on the issue since its verdict might have an impact on any such rules framed by other states or the union government.nnEarlier, senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who was assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, in his suggestions given to the top court had said that after persons holding top constitutional posts demit office, they were like ordinary private citizens and were not entitled to official accommodation.nnThe apex court had sought the UP government’s response in November 2016, after the plea claimed that state government has sought to skirt the Supreme Court’s verdict of August 1, 2016 by amending the law.nnIn its 2016 verdict, the apex court had held that the practice of alloting government bungalows to former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh was bad in law and they should hand over possession of the bungalows occupied by them in two months.nnIt had also said the state government should recover appropriate rent from the occupants of these bungalows for the period during their “unauthorised occupation”.nnThe ex-CM’s who need to move out and their addresses –nnMayawati, BSPnnHer bungalow is at 13,A, Mall Avenue in Lucknow.nShe has been the chief minister in 1995,1997, 2002 and 2007.nMulayam Singh Yadav, SPnnThe address of his bungalow is 5, Vikramaditya Marg.nHe was the chief minister in 1989, 1993 and 2003.nRajnath Singh, BJPnnThe government bungalow at 4, Kalidas Marg has been allotted to him. It lies adjacent to Akhilesh Yadav’s current house at 5, Kalidas Marg.nSingh was the state chief minister in 2000.nKalyan Singh, BJPnnHe is currently the Governor of Rajasthan. The bungalow No- 2 at Mall Avenue belongs to him.nHe was the chief minister in 1991 and 1997.nRam Naresh Yadav, Janata PartynnPresently, he is the Governor of Madhya Pradesh. He occupies the bungalow situated at 1, Mall Avenue.nYadav held the post of chief minister in 1977.nND TiwarinnThe veteran leader has a bungalow to his name in the Mall Avenue.nHe was the chief minister in 1976, 1984 and 1988.nnWith PTI inputs

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