Maharashtra to prosecute multiple allotees of flats under CM's quota
People who have secured multiple flats from the chief minister's discretionary quota on the basis of false declaration about not owning a house will now face prosecution, Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court today.
The government also informed a bench headed by Justice Abhay Oak about rescinding its decision to withdraw prosecution against double allottees if they surrendered one of the houses or, in case the flats had been sold, return the proceeds to the government equivalent to market value of the property.
The government's decisions were communicated to the court through an affidavit filed by S K Salimath, Deputy Secretary of the Urban Development Department. The affidavit, however, said the government had recently accepted an August 30, 2010 letter written on by Apoorva Javadekar, son of Union Minister Prakash Javdekar, offering to surrender a flat allotted to him under CM's discretionary quota.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar challenging double or multiple allotment of houses from the CM's quota. The bench asked the government to file by June 23 a report confirming compliance of its order passed on March 20 by which it had struck down the policy for allotment of houses to the beneficiaries under CM's quota. Describing the policy as "illegal, irrational and unfair", the court had asked the state to frame a new policy which should be transparent and fair. The bench had also restrained the state from making further allotments from the CM's quota under the policy struck down by the court. Government pleader J P Yagnik today informed the bench that the state had stopped making further allotments under the CM's discretionary quota as directed by the court.
The court had observed in its March 20 order that the chief minister had "absolute and unfettered" discretion in allotment of houses which was not fair. Members of the public should be informed that such schemes were available for them, it had said. Under the CM's discretionary quota, flats were being allotted to various categories of people such as freedom fighters, artists, sportspersons, journalists and government employees.
The PIL argued that beneficiaries of flats under CM's quota were either related to MLAs or MPs or were influential politicians themselves and the common man did not benefit from those schemes. The petitioner alleged the government had not taken action against those who had secured more than one flat after making false declarations, either by way of registering an FIR or cancelling the allotment. He said the list of allottees submitted by the state to the court was not exhaustive and some names were missing.
The government had earlier filed two affidavits stating what action they had taken against such beneficiaries. One of affidavits said 14 cases had been identified wherein the same person or their spouse had been allotted more than one house under the CM's five per cent quota. In two of these cases, the affidavit said, action had been initiated. In one case, FIR had been filed against the allottee by the competent authority and, in the other, the state had taken back the tenement. The state is going to take appropriate legal action against the remaining allottees also, it said.