Ex-ministers can’t overstay in official bungalows, SC told
The Supreme Court was told that former ministers cannot overstay in official bungalows. The submission was made by the amicus curiae before the court which is hearing the provisions of law that allows former ministers to stay on in official bungalows.
Amicus curiae, Gopal Subramanium told the court that a minister who has demitted office cannot hang on to public largesse. An Uttar Pradesh based NGO, Lok Prahari had sought action against the authorities for acting in contempt of a court verdict which had directed former chief ministers to vacate the bungalows.
The court was asked if Article 14 of the Constitution that deals with the fundamental right to equality permit former ministers to retain their official bungalows indefinitely.
SN Shukla appearing for the NGO said that the court intervene now or the practice would extend to other states. He said there were States where former ministers were not only given bungalows but also cars and staffers whose expenses were drawn from the public exchequer.
In August 2016, the court held that former chief ministers should hand over possession of the bungalows occupied by them. Except for former Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers in the "evening of their lives," no dignitary, even former chief ministers, can be provided government bungalows for their lifetime unless backed by a specific statutory provision, the Supreme Court had held.