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Supreme Court strikes down Uttar Pradesh legislation's law allowing ex-chief ministers to keep official residences

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down the amendment to a Uttar Pradesh legislation which allows former chief ministers of the state to retain government accommodation even after demitting office.

 Supreme Court strikes down Uttar Pradesh legislations law allowing ex-chief ministers to keep official residences

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

A 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. The bench said the amendment was "arbitrary, discriminatory" and violates the concept of equality.

The apex court said that once such persons demit public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man. The apex court had on 19 April 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.

The 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. The NGO had challenged the amendments made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the 'UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981'.

It 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 the legislative assembly, judicial officers and government officials.

In its 2016 verdict, the apex court had held that the government bungalows allotted to the 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. It had also said the state government should recover appropriate rent from the occupants of these bungalows for the period during their "unauthorised occupation".

Earlier in April, the court had reserved its judgement on a plea challenging the amendments while making it clear that it was not concerned with the accommodation given to former presidents, prime ministers and vice-presidents.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 07, 2018 12:25:51 IST