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SC pulls up unauthorised occupants of bungalows

NEW DELHI, Oct 10, 2012, DHNS: 1:39 IST

‘Residents do not have legal, constitutional right to stay’

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up former Bihar Governor Buta Singh, Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal and 150 others for “unauthorisedly” occupying government bungalows here.

Besides telling them to explain their stay, the court asked why an order should not be passed to get their houses vacated as “they did not have any legal and Constitutional right for it”.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said the continued illegal occupancy of accommodation was making it “difficult” for the government to allot premises for members of different tribunals in the national capital. “Action taken by the government for vacating the premises has been questioned before judicial forum.

After perusing the documents, we are prima facie satisfied that they (the officials) don’t have any legal and Constitutional rights to occupy premises after their retirement. Litigation cannot be used as camouflage to continue to stay on the premises,” the bench said.

“Time has come for intervention of this court. Let notice be issued to those occupying government accommodation,” the court said, seeking their explanation by December 5.
The bench told the Urban Development Ministry to publish names of the unauthorised occupants of government bungalows in one English and one Hindi newspaper.

“The Central government is facing problems due to acute shortage of accommodation required for the heads of various tribunals and officials of judicial and other institutions. Due to their continued occupancy, the government finds it difficult to allot accommodation. That is why, the Prime Minister’s Office had circulated a letter that no general pool accommodation was available for tribunal members,” the bench said.

As Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok submitted the list containing the names of senior journalists, former IPS and IFS officers, who continued occupying the premises beyond the dates of their entitlement, the court expressed its surprise and asked why the police was not used to vacate them.Chandhiok said the government could not do much as the matter was in the court.

Prominent among the list of unauthorised occupants of the residential premises allotted by the government are Abdul Ali Azizi, former member of National Commission for Backward Classes, H S Hanspal, former member of National Commission for Minorities, Jawahar Sircar, CEO of Prasar Bharti, R B Sinha, DG, CAG, Girish Sharma, chief commissioner, Income Tax, R K Mahajan, Joint Secretary, Coal, C S Mathur, director, Central Water Commission.

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