Holding that occupying a constitution post in past cannot entitle a person to get residential accommodation by government, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Chief Ministers could not be allotted bungalow after demitting office and they should be treated at par with common citizens.
"Not only does the legislation recognize former holders of public office as a special class of citizens, it would appear to be arbitrary and discriminatory thereby violating the equality clause", the apex court said.
While striking down the law, the Supreme Court said that Section 4 (3) of Uttar Pradesh ministers (salaries, allowances and miscellaneous provisions) Act, 2016 was unconstitutional.
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The law of govt bungalows was passed in August 2016, by the then CM Akhilesh Yadav. The top court quashed an earlier decision of the Uttar Pradesh government in this regard. The NGO argued that as per SC's ruling, allotment of government bungalows to former CMs was bad in law.
"The public office held by them (former CMs) becomes a matter of history and, therefore, can not form the basis of a reasonable classification to categorize previous holders of public office as a special category of persons entitled to the benefit of special privileges", the court noted. "Whether retention of official accommodation by such former public servants after they demit office is violative of the Constitution". The judgment said, "We had set out few questions for determination". Former Chief Minister Narain Dutt Tiwari and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh are occupying bungalows Number 1 and 2 at posh Mall Avenue respectively while Rajnath Singh continue to possess 4, Kalidas Marg residence next to the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's official residence. In his plea, Subramaniam said, "While the present matter relates to an attempt by the State of Uttar Pradesh to overcome the judgment in Lok Prahari v".
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said once a Chief Minister demits office, there was nothing to distinguish him or her from a common man. The new house was constructed when Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister. It is imperative for proper functioning of a democracy to view every citizen as equal.