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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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‘No Absolute Right To Continue To Occupy’, Says Delhi HC Over Raghav Chadha’s Govt Bungalow

On Friday, a Delhi court ruled that AAP MP Raghav Chadha cannot assert that he has an unqualified right to remain in a government residence during his term, even after the allotment was revoked. The MP and the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were in court to discuss his allocation of a Type-VII house.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat revoked the MP’s allocation to a Type-VII bungalow in Delhi’s Pandara Road in March. He was informed that the allocation had been cancelled because Type-VII was more expensive than what he was entitled to as a rookie MP and that he had been given another flat instead.

Subsequently, Raghav Chadha approached Delhi’s Patiala House Courts against the RS Secretariat and got a stay order against the dispossession in April.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat then filed an application opposing Chadha’s plea and argued that the court could not have passed the order without hearing the secretariat.

The Delhi court’s ruling prohibiting the Rajya Sabha Secretariat from evicting the AAP MP from his official housing was revoked on Friday. Raghav Chadha’s allotment of the government bungalow was described as simply a privilege and as having no legal claim to the property once the allotment was revoked.

In July 2022, Raghav Chadha received a Type-VI home. He sought the Rajya Sabha Chairman in August 2022 to request Type-VII accommodations. He was then given a Type-VII home on Pandara Road in Delhi for housing.

The Rajya Sabha Members Handbook states that Chadha, a rookie MP, is entitled to Type-V accommodations. MPs who are former Union Cabinet Ministers, former Governors or former Chief Ministers and former Lok Sabha Speakers, are entitled to Type-VII bungalows.

Following the court’s order, Raghav Chadha alleged that the cancellation of the “duly allotted official accommodation was arbitrary” and was done without giving him any notice.

“It is unprecedented in more than 70 years of the history of Rajya Sabha that a sitting member is sought to be removed from his duly allotted accommodation where he has been residing for a while and more than four years of his tenure as Rajya Sabha member are still remaining,” said the AAP MP.

He blamed the BJP for the cancellation of his accommodation and said, “The manner of the entire exercise leaves me with no option but to believe that these have been carried out at the dictates of BJP to further their political motives and vested interest in order to scuttle and stifle the political criticism raised by the vocal parliamentarians like me.”

He alleged that the loss of his government accommodation coupled with his suspension as a Rajya Sabha MP “leaves no doubt that the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to target vocal Members of Parliament”.

He claimed that the Rajya Sabha Chairman gave him the government residence after taking into account all of his unique circumstances. “However, cancelling of the accommodation subsequently without any cause or reason signals that the entire suo moto exercise was undertaken to wrongfully target and victimize me,” stated the member of parliament for the AAP.

In addition, Raghav Chadha listed other lawmakers who, like him, were first-time MPs and had previously resided in the bungalow that had been assigned to him. The MPs on his list included former BJP MP Rupa Ganguly, Bahujan Samaj Party MP Danish Ali, and BJP MPs Sudhanshu Trivedi and Rakesh Sinha.

Chadha was suspended from the Rajya Sabha in August till the Privilege Committee submits its findings on the allegations against him for forging the signatures of five MPs in a motion related to the Delhi Services Bill in the House.

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