Notices to 3 ex-Uttarakhand CMs over non-compliance of pending dues order
On June 9, the high court had declared several provisions of ‘Uttarakhand Former Chief Minister Facility (Residential and other facilities) Act 2019’ as ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority), paving way for the recovery of dues.Updated: Aug 14, 2020 23:41 IST
Three former Uttarakhand chief ministers - Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Vijay Bahuguna and Bhuvan Chand Khanduri - were sent show cause notices by the state high court over non-compliance of an earlier court order regarding the non-payment of their dues.
The former CMs have been directed to submit their replies within three weeks.
On June 9, the high court had declared several provisions of ‘Uttarakhand Former Chief Minister Facility (Residential and other facilities) Act 2019’ as ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority), paving way for the recovery of dues.
On May 3, the HC had directed ex-CMs to pay the market rent amounting to Rs 2.8 crore for the buildings occupied by them as ex-chief ministers within six months. It had also directed that all amount due and payable towards amenities such as electricity, water, petrol, oil and lubricants etc be recalculated within four months and same be intimated to ex-CMs who shall within six months pay the said amount to the state government.
The HC had delivered the order after hearing the PIL filed by Dehradun-based NGO - Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) - challenging free residence, car, security and other perks to the former chief ministers in 2010.
Kartikey Hari Gupta, counsel of the petitioner, said as the former CMs didn’t comply with the HC directions, the petitioner RLEK filed a contempt petition against them on Thursday.
“The contempt petition was heard on Friday by the court of Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma. After hearing the matter, the court issued show-cause notices to three former CMs to file replies within three weeks as to why the order has not been complied with,” he said. The case has been listed for hearing after four weeks.
In January this year, RLEK had filed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the Act passed by the state government in the winter session of state legislative assembly in December last year.
Gupta said the court in its June 9 landmark judgment had ruled that Section 4 A and Section 4 C of the Act are in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. He said the HC pointed out that “any attempt by the state legislature to enact a law only to overrule a judicial decision violates the doctrine of the separation of powers which is entrenched in the Constitution of India”
The state government on January 15 had issued a gazette notification regarding implementation of the Uttarakhand Former Chief Minister Facility (Residential and other facilities) Act 2019, which was passed by the state legislative assembly in December and assented to by the governor on January 13.
According to the notification, the appropriate rent of the government residences allotted to the ex-CMs would be recovered from the allottee from the date of allotment. However, the notification added, the facilities provided to the ex-CMs by the state government like vehicle along with driver, maintenance of vehicles, personal assistant/officer on special duty/public relation officer, fourth class employee, watchman, gardened, telephone, attendant, security guard, as determined by the government, would be free of cost.