No government bungalows for former chief ministers; SC strikes down UP law

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It had then held that the practice of allocating government bungalows to former chief ministers was bad in law and they should vacate the bungalows occupied by them in two months.

The Supreme Court (SC) today struck down a law brought in 2016 in Uttar Pradesh assembly, providing lifetime housing to former chief ministers.

The bench said the amendment was "arbitrary, discriminatory" and violates the concept of equality. "Public office becomes history after a person demits the office and it cannot be the basis for giving government residential accommodation for rest of his life", said the SC.

This move by the apex court comes after an NGO named "Lok Prahari" had moved the top court challenging the validity of the Ex-Chief Ministers Residence Allotment Rules, 1997.

The top court sought the state government's response in November 2016 after Lokprahari's plea claimed that the amendment was an attempt to skirt its August verdict that year.

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A Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi did not buy the justification made by Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in Uttar Pradesh that its former Chief Ministers are considered a privileged class who deserve to enjoy certain benefits even after demitting office.

While striking down the UP State Government law, the apex court said, section 4 (3) of UP Ministers (salaries, allowances & miscellaneous provisions) Act, 2016 is unconstitutional. The court also asked the state government to recover appropriate rent from occupants of the said bungalows. The SC noted that once the CM demits the public office, nothing remains to distinguish them from the hoi polloi.

"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".

The Logical Indian wholeheartedly supports the apex court's judgement. It is imperative for proper functioning of a democracy to view every citizen as equal.

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