Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Govt bungalow can not be used for purposes other than residence: Supreme court

NEW DELHI: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam's grand nephew A P J Sheikh Salim has quit BJP riled by the NDA government's refusal to earmark the ex-President's official bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi as a 'Knowledge Centre' as a mark of respect to the departed. 

But Salim might not know that the government's hand are tied in this issue. The Supreme Court on July 5, 2013 had taken serious note of official bungalows in New Delhi and state capitals under unauthorized occupation and ordered eviction of the illegal occupants. 

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi had taken objection to official residences getting converted into memorials for departed political leaders. It had ordered - "Henceforth, no memorials should be allowed in future in any government houses earmarked for residential accommodation." 

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was Amicus curiae in the matter that originated from Karnataka, had suggested to the court that all government houses which had been turned into memorials should be retrieved, memorials in Government houses should be removed and no more memorials should be allowed in future. 

However, the court found that government houses which have been turned into memorial were allotted on lease to respective Trusts/Societies by the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation in accordance with the guidelines framed for the purpose as per direction of the Supreme Court Shiv Sagar Tiwari vs Union of India. 

The lease agreement has been executed between the Government of India and the respective Trusts etc. for specified period. "It would, therefore, be violation of the agreement if such houses are retrieved before the lease period is over. The guidelines formulated in November 2000 put complete ban on the conversion of Government bungalows into memorials of the departed leaders."
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