Former UP Chief Ministers cannot occupy government bungalows, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today struck down section 4(3) of the UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, which granted permanent accommodation to former chief ministers (CMs), saying that they aren’t eligible for government bungalows. The Supreme Court said that the former chief ministers cannot be granted such facilities as they aren’t holding offices.

“Once a person demits public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from common man”, the Court stated while holding that the test of reasonable classification will fail as reported by Bar and Bench. Interestingly, in 2016, the SC had struck down the state rules giving ‘largesse’ only to former CMs without any ‘element of reasonableness’ and ‘bad in law’. Subsequently, Akhilesh Yadav Government amended the statute to get over the judgement.

While the verdict is confined to the state of Uttar Pradesh, it will have implications on accommodations provided to former Prime Ministers, Presidents and CMs of other states too.

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A PIL was filed by an NGO Lok Prahari, challenging amendments in the state laws allowing former CMs of UP to continue occupying government bungalows. The NGO argued that in the verdict in August 2016, the SC had held that allotment of government bungalows to former Chief Ministers was bad in law and they should hand over possession of the bungalows occupied by them. The amendments were made only to circumvent the SC order, it said.

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