After relief to ex-Punjab CM Bhattal, former CPSes demand reimbursement of penal rent
Many among the 18 CPSes whose appointments were termed unconstitutional by the Punjab and Haryana high court in August 2017, have to pay penal rent between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 18 lakh for overstaying in the government accommodationspunjab Updated: Sep 22, 2017 10:14 IST
A day after the Punjab cabinet decided to pay back Rs 84 lakh to former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal for overstaying in a government residence allotted to her as a leader of opposition, former chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes) in the previous SAD-BJP government have also demanded the same relief from the cash-strapped government.
Many among the 18 CPSes whose appointments were termed unconstitutional by the Punjab and Haryana high court in August 2017, have to pay penal rent between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 18 lakh for overstaying in the government accommodations. They claimed that the penal rent was charged from them when they went to get a no-objection certificate from the Vidhan Sabha.
“We were not served any notice to vacate the houses when the court scrapped the appointments. After around two months, I went to hand over the keys of my official residence to the estate department of the Vidhan Sabha and even at that time, I was not told about the penal rent. I was surprised when I went to get my no-objection certificate and was charged ₹14 lakh as penal rent,” said SAD MLA from Adampur Pawan Tinu, who was CPS for sports in previous SAD-BJP regime.
“In Bhattal’s case, cabinet took the plea that she was an MLA overstayed in the house allotted to her as leader of opposition. We too remained MLAs after we were removed as CPSes. Why this disparity?”
Similarly, former SAD MLA from Sham Chaurasi Mohinder Kaur Josh had to pay Rs 10 lakh as penal rent. When she paid the penal rent, she even wrote a letter addressed to the estate department that she was paying it only to get a NOC.
“You are charging an illegal penal rent as neither you gave us notice to vacate the house nor you sent us any letter about charging the penal rent,” reads the letter, a copy of which is with HT.
The others who paid to get the NOC include Virsa Singh Valtoha, Balbir Ghunnas, Mantar Singh Brar, Parkash Chand Garg and Amarpal Singh Bonny. The total amount they paid to get NOCs is more than ₹1 crore.
“In Madam Bhattal’s case, the plea the cabinet took was that she was an MLA overstayed in the house allotted to her as the leader of opposition. We also remained MLAs after we were removed as CPSes. Why this disparity?” asked Tinu. The former CPSs have called a meeting in Jalandhar next Sunday to discuss the strategy to take up the case with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.