The Supreme Court of India recently ruled that the State of Uttar Pradesh cannot allot government bungalows for life to its ex-Chief Ministers and hence declared Ex-Chief Ministers Residence Allotment Rules, 1997 issued by executive orders as invalid and illegal.
“The position of the Chief Minister and the Cabinet Ministers of the State cannot stand on a separate footing after they demit their office. Moreover, no other dignitary, holding constitutional post is given such a facility. For the afore-stated reasons, the 1997 Rules are not fair, and more so, when the subject of “salary and allowances” of the ministers, is governed by Section 4 (1) (a) of the 1981 Act [Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act]”, a Large Bench of the Court said.
The Court further said “There is one more and most important reason for which the 1997 Rules cannot be said to be legal. The 1981 Act deals with the salaries and perquisites to be given to all the Ministers, including the Chief Ministers. The said provisions are statutory, but the 1997 Rules are not statutory and they are only in the nature of executive instructions. If there is any variance in statutory provision and executive instruction, the statutory provision would always prevail. This is a very well-known principle and no further discussion is required on the subject. When the 1981 Act enables the Chief Minister to have residential accommodation only during his tenure and for 15 days after completion of his tenure, the 1997 Rules providing for an accommodation for life to the Chief Minister cannot be said to be legal and valid. For this sole reason, validity of the 1997 Rules cannot be upheld.”
The Court also said allotment of government bungalows to societies or trusts or organizations not made in accordance with a statutory provision must be discontinued and must be treated as cancelled and the State shall take possession of such premises as soon as possible and at the same time, the State should also recover appropriate rent in respect of such premises.