Ex-CMs can't be given govt bungalows for lifetime: SC

Ex-CMs can't be given govt bungalows for lifetime: SC

Former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that former chief ministers after demitting the office were at par with the common citizen, so he or she cannot be provided government bungalow for the lifetime.

But such a former constitutional functionary may be entitled to security and other protocols, the apex court said.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said natural resources, public lands and the public goods like government bungalows and official residence are the public property that belongs to the people of the country.

“The ‘Doctrine of Equality’ which emerges from the concepts of justice, fairness must guide the state in the distribution/allocation of the same,” the court said.

The top court struck down as “arbitrary and discriminatory” the 2016 amendment brought into the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, by the then Akhilesh Yadav government, allowing all former chief ministers to occupy bungalows for lifetime.

“Once such persons demit the public office there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man. The public office held by them becomes a matter of history and, therefore, cannot form the basis of a reasonable classification to categorise them as a special category of persons entitled to the benefit of special privileges,” the bench said.

Acting on a plea by NGO Lok Prahari through its general secretary S N Shukla, the court held that Section 4(3) of the 1981 Act recognising former CMs as a special class of citizens would be violating the principle of equality enshrined under the Constitution.

The beneficiaries included Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, BSP supremo Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, his son Akhilesh and Congress leader Narayan Dutt Tiwari.

Notably, the top court had in 2016 quashed the rules allowing allotment of government bungalows to former chief ministers but the state government brought in an amendment to surpass the court’s judgement.