Patna HC asks former ministers to vacate bungalows in 15 days

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednsday asked former Bihar ministers to vacate ministerial quarters they have been occupying and hand over these within 15 days to the government’s building construction department.

“The petitioners shall be granted 15 days further time by the building construction department, government of Bihar, as to vacate the said quarters in question and it shall be incumbent also upon the petitioners to vacate and hand over the quarters within the said period,” Justice Sudhir Singh said.

The court passed the direction on petitions filed by former ministers belonging to the RJD challenging the building construction department’s letter dated September 20, 2017 to them to vacate and handover the quarters to it.

The former ministers who challenged the letter included Chandrika Ray, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Shiv Chandra Ram, Anita Devi, Chandrashekhar, Vijay Prakash and Aalok Kumar Mehta.

The estate officer of building construction department had on December 11, 2015 allotted quarters under the central pool to the petitioners for being ministers in the Bihar government.

The court said that the letters dated 20.09.2017 issued individually to the petitioners by the estate officer of the building construction department do not require any interference of the court.

The judge said, “Since the cessation of their ministership has also been elapsed, therefore, in my considered opinion, the petitioners have no vested or residuary right to remain in occupation of the quarters earlier allotted them under the central pool in capacity of the minister of the state government.”

The court also directed the Bihar assembly secretary to find out illegal allotment of quarters made under legislative pool to persons who are disentitled and thereafter take necessary steps in accordance with law to get them vacated.

This exercise must be completed within 60 days from today, the judge said.

The court also observed that while finding out the issue of disentitlement, unauthorised occupation and illegal allotment in terms of the relevant rules, the secretary of Bihar assembly shall examine the respective entitlement of the occupants/allottees with reference to the types of quarter.