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Lok Prahari v. State of U.P. & Ors. - (Supreme Court) (01 Aug 2016)

Public property cannot be disposed of in favour of any one without adequate consideration



Instant public interest litigation filed raising a significant issue pertaining to government bungalows occupied by former Chief Ministers of the State of Uttar Pradesh. Petitioner is a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act and petition has been filed through its General Secretary. He is a former officer of All India Services and has ventilated grievances which are definitely serious one, touching the State exchequer and conduct of the persons who were Chief Ministers of the State of Uttar Pradesh. Main submission made in the petition is that several former Chief Ministers had occupied Government bungalows of Type VI even after demitting office of the Chief Minister for several years without any right to retain the same, which is not only immoral and illegal, but it also does not befit persons who were Chief Ministers of the State.

Supreme Court while upholding Petitioner’s locus standi to file present petition opined that, Petitioner society is challenging the validity of Ex-Chief Ministers Residence Allotment Rules, 1997 Rules, whereby government bungalows have been allotted to former Chief Ministers, especially when there is an acute shortage of government premises.

1997 Rules are not statutory rules. Rules were in the nature of administrative or executive instructions. When the rules and regulations or executive institutions are contrary to any statutory provision, the statutory provision would prevail and the rules or executive institutions, so far as they are contrary to the statutory provisions, would fail.

Supreme Court opined that, 1997 Rules, which permit the former Chief Ministers to occupy government bungalows for life cannot be said to be valid. Respondent cannot permit any former Chief Minister to occupy any government bungalow or any government accommodation after 15 days from the date on which his term comes to an end. Bungalow to private trusts or societies allotted to the societies/trusts/organizations at the time when there was no provision with regard to allotment of government bungalows to them and therefore, said allotment cannot be held to be justified.

Supreme Court unanimously pronounced that, allotment of government property to someone without adequate market rent, in absence of any special statutory provision, would also be bad in law because the State has no right to fritter away government property in favour of private persons or bodies without adequate consideration and therefore, all such allotments, which have been made in absence of any statutory provision cannot be upheld.

Relevant : Ex-Chief Ministers Residence Allotment Rules, 1997


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