New Delhi, June 8
In an interim relief to AAP MP Raghav Chadha, a Delhi court has directed the Rajya Sabha secretariat not to dispossess him of a Type-7 bungalow in Lutyens' Delhi, which is usually allotted to lawmakers who are former ministers, chief ministers or governors, till the pendency of his application and without following the due process of law.
The court will now decide the maintainability of Chadha's application against the March 3, 2023 order of the Rajya Sabha secretariat cancelling the allotment of the bungalow to him on July 10.
Nobody from the Rajya Sabha secretariat was immediately available for comment.
During the proceedings, the counsel for the RS secretariat objected to the maintainability of the application.
Additional District Judge Sudhanshu Kaushik had on June 1, after hearing the arguments from both sides on the issue of maintainability, fixed the matter for July 10 for order.
The court had in April directed the secretariat not to dispossess Chadha of the bungalow till the pendency of the application “without due process of law”.
“At this stage, I do not deem it expedient to comment on the arguments raised by the plaintiff that the allotment once made by the secretariat cannot be cancelled under any circumstances during the entire tenure of a Member of Parliament,” the judge had said.
However, I do find force in the second limb of the argument advanced on behalf of the plaintiff that a person cannot be dispossessed except by following the due process of law, the judge said.
"Since, the plaintiff (Chadha) is occupying an accommodation, which falls under the category of public premises, the defendant (Rajya Sabha Secretariat) is obligated to follow the due process of law,” he said.
The judge noted Chadha's submission that the secretariat was acting in “haste” and there was a strong likelihood that he might be dispossessed without following the due process of law.
"In view of these circumstances, a prima-facie case is made out for issuing directions to the effect that the plaintiff shall not be dispossessed from the bungalow… without due process of law,” the judge said.
He observed that the balance of convenience also was in favour of Chadha as he was residing in the accommodation with his parents.
“Plaintiff would indeed suffer irreparable injury, in case he is dispossessed without the due process of law. Accordingly, till the next date of hearing, the defendant is directed not to dispossess the plaintiff from bungalow…without due process of law,” the judge said.
Chadha's counsel had urged the court to grant an ex-parte ad-interim injunction against the secretariat, claiming it was “hell bent” to evict Chadha from the allotted accommodation.
He contended that Chadha would suffer irreparable injury in case the injunction was not granted.
No orders have been passed by the estate officer and eviction proceedings have not been initiated, the court noted.
Chadha was on July 6 last year allotted a 'Type 6' bungalow at Pandara Park but he made a representation to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha on August 29 requesting for a 'Type 7' accommodation.
He was then allotted another bungalow on Pandara Road from the Rajya Sabha pool.
However, in March this year, the allotment was cancelled.
Chadha sought an injunction to the effect that the secretariat be restrained from taking any further action in consequence of the March 3 letter and be restrained from allotting the bungalow to some other person.
The AAP MP also sought Rs 5.5 lakh in damages from the secretariat for causing him mental agony and harassment.
As a first-time MP, Chadha is entitled to a Type-5 accommodation in the normal course, according to the Rajya Sabha Members Handbook released in April 2022.
The handbook says MPs who are former Union Cabinet ministers, former governors or former chief ministers and former Lok Sabha Speakers, are entitled to Type-7 bungalows, the second largest category available to Rajya Sabha MPs.
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