HC posts Ambika Soni, Selja’s plea for Aug 11

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday, posted for August 11, the pleas of Congress members of parliament Ambika Soni and Kumari Selja challenging a single judges’ order holding that they were not entitled to accommodation in type-VIII bungalows.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath transferred the case to another bench and observed that single judge’s order cannot interfered with. It, however, said the Rs.25,000 cost each imposed upon them can be set aside.

On July 30, the single judge had dismissed pleas of Soni and Selja with Rs.25,000 cost each on challenging government orders to vacate their official bungalows here.

Soni and Selja are staying at 22, Akbar Road, and 7, Motilal Nehru Marg, respectively – allotted to them when they were ministers in the previous UPA government. The NDA government, cancelling these, allotted them Type-VII bungalows at 84, Lodhi Estate and AB-14 Mathura Road respectively.

Soni and Selja, who are now Rajya Sabha members, accused the BJP-led government of “mala fide intentions against members of the opposition” for asking them to shift from a lower class of accommodation.

The court, however, had dismissed the allegations with the judge saying: “I am also sad to note that the petitioners, merely for the sake of retaining a house to which they are not entitled, have attempted to give political overtones to the matter and have insisted on the said argument.”

The two ex-ministers had said senior parliamentarians, who have held office as union cabinet ministers or chief ministers or governors or speaker of the Lok Sabha, amongst others, are eligible according to the policy published on the Rajya Sabha website and have been allowed to continue in Type VIII houses under the respective house pool.

They claimed that if the ministry cancels the bungalows allotted to the Rajya Sabha members, then the whole purpose of house pool is defeated.

The government on May 5 issued notices to the two ex-ministers, asking them to vacate the government bungalows by June 10 and shift to the alternate accommodations allotted to them, which they refused to accept.

 

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