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SC asks Centre for names of illegal occupants of govt bungalows

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to furnish the names of persons occupying top three categories of government accommodation in Delhi, including those who are staying unauthorisedly, besides other details o the bungalows.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked the government to furnish the details of Type 6, 7 and 8 accommodations before the winter session of Parliament which is likely to begin on November 24. The Centre, in its affidavit, submitted that many of former Ministers and MPs who were reportedly living unauthorisedly have vacated their premises.

It said that former ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal, A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran, S M Krishna, Mukul Wasnik, C P Joshi and Mukul Roy have vacated the premises recently. Government submitted its report regarding the people whose names were highlighted as unauthorised occupants in various media reports.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, who is assisting the court as amicus curie, told the bench that illegal occupants are capable of affording private accommodation. She said that occupants are allowed to overstay in government accommodations due to various reasons and cited the case of Saroj Kumari, widow of later Arjun Singh, who has been living in government bungalow on medical ground after demise of the leader in March 2011.

The Centre in its affidavit said that the total number of type 6 and 7 quarters in general pool is 126 and 187 respectively, which is 0.5 per cent in comparison to totalnumber of quarters in Delhi which is around 61,466. It also said that with regard to memorials in General Pool Residential Accommodation, the Ministry of Urban Development has totally banned conversion of government bungalows into memorials of departed leaders.It said the allotment of accommodations can be made on out of turn basis also on security grounds to any private person, who is a SPG protectee and market rate of license fee is charged from the allottee.

The apex court had on July 18 issued notice to Centre on illegal occupation of government accommodation which was brought to its notice by former CAG Vinod Rai. The court had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written by Rai who annexed a news report of a national daily alleging that 22 former Union ministers and retired bureaucrats were illegally occupying government accommodation.

The unauthorised occupation of government accommodation is in violation of apex court verdict delivered in July in which it had allowed authorities to use "reasonable force" for their eviction. It had also set a time-frame--up to two months-- for the people concerned to vacate the official accommodation after the end of their entitlement period.

"If as per the Estate officer the occupant's case is not genuine, not more than 15 days time should be granted and thereafter reasonable force as per Section(5)(@) of the Act may be used," the court had said. "It is unfortunate that the employees, officers, representatives of people and other high dignitaries continue to stay in the residential accommodation provided by the Government of India though they are no longer entitled to such accommodation," it had said. It had said that MPs, ministers and bureaucrats should immediately leave their premises after demitting office but the occupant can be given a extension of not more than 30 days if his reason to occupy the premises is genuine.

In case of members of judiciary, a judge has to leave thepremises within 30 days after retirement which can be extendedfor another month.

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