Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has vacated his official bungalow allotted to him on Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow to the Uttar Pradesh estate department.
“Akhilesh Yadav yesterday night handed over the keys of the government bungalow allotted to him to the estate department,” department official Yogesh Kumar Shukla.
“Now only former chief minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari has to vacate his bungalow and hand over the keys,” Shukla said.
Ujjwala Tiwari, wife of N D Tiwari, has sought more time from the estates department, pleading that her husband was in Delhi in the “last stages” of his life.
“He is bed-ridden for the past eight months and I am also not keeping well.
The estate department had issued notices to six former chief ministers – Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh and Akhilesh Yadav – to vacate their official bungalows in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order.
On 7 May, the Supreme Court had observed that former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers cannot retain government accommodation after demitting office.
The apex court had struck down the amendment to a Uttar Pradesh legislation which allowed former chief ministers of the state to retain government accommodation even after demitting office.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the amendment in the legislation was ultra vires to the Constitution since it transgresses the concept of equality under the Constitution.
The bench said the amendment was “arbitrary, discriminatory” and violates the concept of equality.
The apex court said that once such persons demit public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man.
The apex court had on April 19 reserved its verdict on an NGO’s plea challenging amendments to the UP legislation allowing ex-chief ministers of the state to continue occupying government bungalows.
The top court had earlier observed that if the provision, which has been challenged by NGO Lok Prahari, was held invalid, then similar legislation in other states might also come under challenge.
The NGO had challenged the amendments made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the ‘UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981’.
It had also challenged another UP law of 2016 called ‘The Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department Bill-2016’ to regulate the allotment of government accommodation to trusts, journalists, political parties, speaker and deputy speaker of legislative assembly, judicial officers and government officials.
(with agency inputs)