Other States

Patna HC notices over bungalows to ex-CMs

Nitish Kumar currently possesses three bungalows  

The Patna High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Bihar government and all former Chief Ministers of Bihar, including Nitish Kumar, for being allotted official bungalows for lifetime. The court fixed the next date of hearing on February 11.

While taking suo motu cognisance of the rules for providing a government bungalow for life to former Chief Ministers, a Division Bench of the Patna High Court, comprising Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Anjana Mishra, issued notices to the State government and all former CMs asking them why such rules should not be set aside and allotment of their bungalows quashed.

Rules framed in 2010

Once a public representative demits his office, he becomes a common citizen, observed the court.

The rules to provide government bungalows for life to former CMs were framed in 2010 when the NDA government led by Nitish Kumar was in power. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar currently possesses three palatial government bungalows — two in Bihar and one in Delhi.

He lives in 1 Anne Marg, the government bungalow notified for the State’s CM and has also been retaining the bungalow at 7 Circular Road, which was allotted to him as a former Chief Minister in May 2014. Huge amounts were allegedly spent on renovating 7 Circular Road, when Mr. Kumar was living there as ex-CM.

Crores spent

According to the government documents, ₹1.74 crore were allotted only for the construction of the conference hall at the 7 Circular Road-residence while ₹9.92 lakh were spent for the construction of a garage.

Besides Mr. Kumar, former CMs — Satish Kumar Singh, Jagannath Mishra, Rabri Devi and Lalu Prasad (both living in one bungalow at 10 Circular Road) and Jitan Ram Manjhi — were allotted government bungalows.

Earlier in a similar case, the Supreme Court had quashed the Uttar Pradesh government rules which had allowed the State’s former CMs to retain government bungalows along with other official perks. Former U.P. CMs Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had to vacate their official bungalows after the SC order.

On Monday, while rejecting a plea by Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejaswi Yadav to retain his official bungalow, the Division Bench of the Patna High Court had said that it had taken suo motu cognizance of the government rules which has provisions to allot official bungalows to former CMs for life and asked the State government to come prepared in the court on Tuesday.

Mr. Tejaswi Yadav had challenged the Single Bench order of the Patna HC which had, earlier, dismissed his plea to retain the bungalow 5 Deshratna Marg, which was allotted to him when he was the Deputy Chief Minister during the Grand Alliance government.

“We’ll now approach the Supreme Court against the Patna High Court order,” Tejaswi Yadav had said on Monday.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 12:45:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/patna-hc-notices-over-bungalows-to-ex-cms/article25944598.ece

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