Supreme Court axes law; UP ministers to lose bungalows

Supreme Court axes law; UP ministers to lose bungalows

Supreme Court axes law; UP ministers to lose bungalows

The Supreme Court rejected an Uttar Pradesh law which allowed former Chief Ministers use of the State official bungalows and comforts on taxpayers' expense as "unconstitutional".

"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.

As a result of this order besides Mr. Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav, N.D. Tiwari and Kalyan Singh will have to vacate their government bungalows. The judgment said, "We had set out few questions for determination. Whether retention of official accommodation by such former public servants after they demit office is violative of the Constitution". The plea had challenged the decision of the government to allot official bungalows to Chief Ministers after their tenure in the office got over. "The public office held by them 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", it said.

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But the Supreme Court verdict on Monday on the petition of Lok Prahari has left no choice with these former Chief Ministers than to vacate their government accommodations.

However, the Court turned down the same and said that it will decide only on the Uttar Pradesh law and the Centre and other States can ascertain the implications of the judgment on them if the law is struck down. But only four states responded.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R. Banumathi quashed the amendment made to the law holding that it transgresses the equality clause under Article 14 of the Constitution.

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

"It is a legislative exercise based on irrelevant and legally unacceptable considerations, unsupported by any constitutional sanctity", the bench added.

"Consequently, we hold that Section 4 (3) of the 1981 Act can not pass the test of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and is, therefore, liable to be struck down".

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