In a major relief for the Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Uttarakhand High Court’s contempt proceedings against him for allegedly failing to pay rent for the government bungalow he was staying in.

The apex court overturned the Uttarakhand High Court’s order which had on May 3 last year ordered the former chief ministers of the state to pay market rent for the entire period they continued to occupy government accommodation since demitting office.

In its order, the high court had declared all government orders from 2001 providing housing and other facilities to former chief ministers in the state as illegal and unconstitutional.

Today, a Supreme Court’s bench headed by Justice R F Nariman stayed the contempt proceedings on a plea filed by the Union Minister of Education.

The court had directed that all amount due and payable towards amenities such as electricity, water, petrol, oil and lubricants provided by the state to the former chief ministers shall be computed by the state government within four months from the date of receipt of the copy of the order.

In August this year, the Uttarakhand High Court issued show-cause notices to three former chief ministers and the state chief secretary while hearing a contempt petition over non-compliance of its order to clear dues for facilities used by the state’s ex-CMs for years.

Among the former chief minister named in the plea were Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

(With PTI inputs)