The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the Haryana chief secretary to inform about all financial and other facilities authorised to its members of parliament and legislative assembly (MPs and MLAs) so that the court could ascertain as to whether there was a need of "preferential reservation" for the allotment of plots to 79 legislators in 2008 in Panchkula.
The directions came from the division bench headed by justice Surya Kant on Thursday during the hearing of a petition by The Herald Cooperative Group Housing Society, Panchkula, challenging the state government's decision of allotment of plots without even receiving any earnest money.
The chief secretary, however, on Thursday, failed to comply with the court's earlier directions of submitting the complete details of accommodation available for the stay of legislators in Chandigarh and Panchkula, along with the original record of allotment of plots. The court, while accepting the Haryana government's request for granting some more time, adjourned the case for February 13.
The court observed that such beneficial schemes were meant for downtrodden people and not for the well-to-do persons. Hence, the chief secretary should inform the court about the financial burden on the government exchequer with regard to legislators' salaries, all allowances and facilities, including foreign trips.
The 79 beneficiary legislators include Deepender Singh Hooda, Naveen Jindal, Kiran Choudhary, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Chander Mohan and Karan Singh Dalal. However, former Karnataka governor Hans Raj Bhardwaj and Kumari Selja (who has resigned as union minister of social justice and empowerment) have surrendered their plots. The high court had in 2009 put a stay on the government's decision for the allotment of plots.
As per the petitioner, legislators were allotted one 14-marla plot each by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Sector 6, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, at throwaway prices. At the time of the decision, though the prevailing market price of the plots was around Rs 1.5 crore, legislators got those plots allotted just for Rs 28 lakh each. The state government had reasoned that during the state assembly sessions, the authorities found it difficult to accommodate legislators, but the petitioner had countered that there was sufficient government accommodation for legislators in Chandigarh and Panchkula.