The Supreme Court struck down an amendment to an Uttar Pradesh state government legislation that allowed former chief ministers of the state to retain government accommodation even after demiting office.
In its verdict on Monday, the apex court said the amendment to 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.
While the state government later said it will study the order in detail before responding, the verdict will impact six former chief ministers in particular: Kalyan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, ND Tiwari, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Rajnath Singth, all of whom are currently occupying government properties in Lucknow.
What makes the order particularly difficult for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the politically crucial state is the fact that three out of the six are party leaders.
A report on Financial Express quoted Rajnath Singh's office as saying they would go by the state government's decision since allocation of official bungalows is done as per the state government's scheme.
Rajnath's apartment is of particular importance because of its strategic location. The Union home minister lives on 4, Kalidas Marg, right next door to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who occupies 5, Kalidas Marg. The report on Financial Times said that occupants of the two households are frequent visitors to each other's houses.
Meanwhile, it further added that Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav, both former chief ministers of the state, used to occupy the 5, Vikramaditya Marg residence and have been doing so for the last 27 years. However, ever since Akhilesh had a public falling out with his father last year, he moved out and occupied the house next door — 4, Vikramaditya Marg.
In fact, a report on The Times of India said that several of the bungalows have undergone expansions since their current occupants moved in. It said that Mayawati's bungalow in the city's posh Mall Avenue locality increased from 790 sq.metres to over 2,100 sq.metres since 2007, when the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) stormed to power. Mayawati then ordered the annexation of a cane commissioner's office next door, the report said.
Similarly, Mulayam's bungalow too swelled from just over 400 sq.metres in 1990 to well over 2,400 sq.metres today. The monthly rent for Mulayam and Mayawati's palatial bungalows is only Rs 4,212 a month, the report added.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 08, 2018 15:17 PM