Supreme Court tells Tejashwi to vacate government bungalow, imposes Rs 50,000 f…

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav to vacate the premises designated for the Bihar’s deputy chief minister that he was allotted in 2015 when he held the post.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed Yadav’s appeal against a Patna High Court order asking him to vacate the bungalow and imposed Rs 50,000 fine on him for wasting “judicial time”. The CJI expressed surprise that Yadav was pursuing the case up to the top court. “What is this? Luxury litigation! Precious judicial time has been wasted,” the bench, also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, remarked.

The apex court did not find fault with the two orders passed by the single judge and the division bench of the Patna high court dismissing the pleas of the former deputy chief minister against the state government’s decision asking Tejashwi to vacate the bungalow for his successor Sushil Modi.

The high court had asked Tejashwi, who is now holding the post of leader of opposition (LoP) in the assembly, to swap bungalow with the present deputy chief minister. Tejashwi’s counsel, senior advocate A M Singhvi, attempted to establish that the post of a minister and that of the LoP was similar in protocol. Moreover, there is no separate class like deputy chief minister in law, Singhvi said.

He said there is chief minister and the council of ministers, but the state government has created a new category of deputy chief minister for the purposes of accommodation and other benefits.

“Was there no deputy chief ministers elsewhere? …You see, two benches of the high court have held against you,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

Yadav was asked by the state government to swap his bungalow with Sushil Modi, who is now the deputy CM of Bihar.

Yadav had moved the apex court against the Patna high court’s division bench order on January 7 that refused to set aside a single-judge bench ruling directing Yadav to evict the said bungalow.

“The petitioner has been allotted a bungalow, matching his status as a minister in the government, at 1, Polo Road, Patna. He cannot raise complaint on the decision so taken, simply because the present bungalow is more suited to him,” the single-judge order stated.

Yadav occupies the 5, Desh Ratna Marg bungalow, a stone’s throw from the Raj Bhavan and the chief minister’s official residence.

The Patna high court bench had said in its order: “The rights which are being agitated upon are not such rights so as to place them on the pedestal of legally enforceable indefeasible rights.”

First Published: Feb 08, 2019 13:13 IST

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