The Punjab government told the high court on Saturday that former leader of the opposition in the Punjab assembly Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and former Tamil Nadu governor SS Barnala were among the illegal occupants of government houses in Chandigarh.
Ramesh Kumar, undersecretary, general administration, Punjab, told a bench headed by justice Rajesh Bindal that while Bhattal owed a penal rent of Rs. 66.65 lakh for house no. 46 in Sector 2 from March 22 to November 15, Barnala continues to illegally occupy house no. 11 in Sector 7.
But as per the Chandigarh administration's report submitted in the court, Barnala had been
provided the accommodation for security reasons.
When Kumar told the court that former DGP PS Gill had also vacated his government accommodation, justice Bindal directed the Punjab government to specify the expenses incurred on the repair and renovation of the house with a mention of the heads under which the money was paid.
While the Chandigarh administration submitted that former cabinet minister Sucha Singh Langah was occupying house no. 69 in Sector 7 illegally, the state government claimed that the house was lying vacant.
Kumar told the court during the course of arguments that former principal secretary to the chief minister DS Guru had vacated the government accommodation and the entire penal rent for his overstay had been recovered from him.
In accordance with the previous directions of the high court, the Chandigarh administration's counsel submitted a list carrying details of various types of government houses in Chandigarh occupied by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh officers. But, not satisfied with the manner in which the details had been presented, the court directed the UT counsel to furnish the details again. It also directed the counsel to submit the details specifying since when houses in Type 5, 6 and 9 categories were lying vacant.
The UT administration told the court that the Chandigarh estate office had carried out a survey of 5,949 houses in rehabilitation colonies out of a total of 13,523 sites in Sectors 25, 29, 30, 32 and 37and found that 1,314 houses had been illegally resold.
With regard to unauthorised occupants of around 25 tenements and transit accommodations in Sector 26, the UT counsel further submitted that eviction notices had been issued to the occupants, after which the administration had approached the district courts.
The matter came up for arguments during the resumed hearing of a case regarding illegal occupation of government houses in Chandigarh. The case has been adjourned for the next hearing to January 11.