Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Raghav Chadha moves Delhi HC against trial court order on govt bungalow allocation

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha on Tuesday moved the high court against a trial court order ruling that he did not possess a vested right to continue occupying a government Type-7 bungalow in Pandara Road, which falls under Lutyens’ Delhi after the allotment was cancelled and the privilege withdrawn.

Last week, Additional District Judge Sudhanshu Kaushik of Patiala House Courts vacated his interim order, whichhad directed the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to refrain from evicting him from the bungalow without following due legal process.

These bungalows in question are allocated to lawmakers who have served as Ministers, Chief Ministers, or Governors.

After Chadha’s counsel apprised a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula on Tuesday that his client has been issued an eviction notice post the trial court’s order, the bench allowed it for hearing on October 11.

The trial court’s order came in Chadha’s suit against the Rajya Sabha Secretariat’s decision to cancel the bungalow’s allotment to him, following an order issued on March 3.

The Secretariat had then filed a review application seeking the recall of the interim order by the judge, which now stands vacated.

The court stated: “Plaintiff (Raghav Chadha) cannot claim that he has an absolute right to continue to occupy the accommodation during his entire tenure as a Member of Rajya Sabha. The allotment of Government accommodation is only a privilege given to the plaintiff, and he has no vested right to continue to occupy the same even after the cancellation of allotment.”

It was the Secretariat’s case that the interim relief had been granted to Chadha without adhering to the procedure outlined in Section 80(2) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).

According to the Secretariat, a hearing should have been conducted for both sides before granting such relief under the provision.

In vacating the interim order, the court rejected Chadha’s argument that once accommodation is allocated to a Member of Parliament, it cannot be cancelled under any circumstances during their entire tenure.

The court noted that for the purpose of determining whether an application should be granted under Section 80(2) of the CPC, the court is supposed to give a hearing to both sides, consider the nature of the suit, and assess the urgency of the matter before making a final decision.

It said that the interim relief granted in Chadha’s case had been an apparent error, and the order dated April 18 was recalled and vacated.

The court concluded that since no urgent or immediate relief was required in the suit, the plaintiff should re-file the case after complying with the requirements of Section 80(1) of CPC.

In April, the court had directed the secretariat not to dispossess Chadha from the bungalow during the pendency of the application without due process of law.

The judge had stated that he would not comment on the argument put forth by the plaintiff regarding the non-cancellation of an allotment made by the Secretariat during an MP’s entire tenure, but acknowledged the plaintiff’s claim that a person cannot be dispossessed without following the due process of law.

The judge had noted that Chadha was occupying public premises and that the Secretariat was obligated to follow the due process of law.

Chadha’s submission that the Secretariat was acting hastily and there was a strong likelihood of him being dispossessed without following the due process of law was also taken into consideration.

The judge had concluded that a prima facie case was established for issuing directions to prevent Chadha from being dispossessed from the bungalow without due process of law.

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