The Uttar Pradesh government today told the Supreme Court that it has got vacated 157 government bungalows including those allotted to former chief ministers. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D Y Chandrachud was told by the counsel for Uttar Pradesh that those persons who have stayed in the bungalows beyond the stipulated time as given in the order of apex court will pay occupational charges.
“We are complying with the order of apex court and till now 157 homes have been vacated. Those persons who have occupied the bungalows beyond the stipulated time, will have to pay occupational charges,” the counsel said. The bench, asked the state government to file a detailed affidavit in two weeks giving specifics of how many homes have been vacated and how much occupational charges have been collected.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on September 17. On April 11, last year, the apex court had sought response from the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea seeking action against authorities for alleged failure to get the government bungalows allotted to former chief ministers vacated.
The court had sought reply from the director of estates of the state government within three weeks as to why the government bungalows allotted to the ex-CMs have not been vacated. The apex court 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.
In its 2016 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 (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 had in 2016 year passed amendments to laws to circumvent the effect of the verdict of apex court and enable former chief ministers to retain the accommodation allotted 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.