Govt bungalow allocation row: Delhi HC reserves order on Raghav Chadha’s plea against trial court’s decision to vacate interim order

The Delhi High Court Thursday reserved its order on a plea by AAP MP Raghav Chadha challenging the trial court’s decision of vacating an interim order which stopped the Rajya Sabha secretariat from evicting him from the government bungalow allotted to him.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, after completing the proceedings, orally asked the counsel for the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to not take any action in the matter till the high court has delivered its judgment.

“I am not passing any interim order but till I decide it, nothing shall be done in the meantime,” the judge said.

While the counsel for Chadha submitted he has already filed his brief submissions in the case, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat’s lawyer said he will submit his synopsis by Friday evening.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing Chadha, said the AAP leader has been directed to appear before the estate officer pursuant to Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act proceedings tomorrow.

He said he proposes to request the estate officer to defer the proceedings as the high court has reserved its judgment in the matter.

Chadha has challenged the trial court’s October 5 order in which it observed he cannot claim an absolute right to continue to occupy the government bungalow during his entire tenure as a Rajya Sabha MP even after the cancellation of allotment.

The trial court had made the observation while vacating an interim order passed on April 18 which directed the Rajya Sabha Secretariat not to oust Chadha from the government bungalow. It had noted Chadha was granted the interim relief without the due process of law.

Chadha’s counsel had contended before the high court that he was a victim of “selective targeting” as he was a vocal opposition member of Parliament. Chadha said he was the only sitting lawmaker in the Rajya Sabha ever to have been sought to be evicted from the bungalow allotted to him.

He had said the allotment of accommodation is an exercise of guided discretion and is made after taking into account the circumstances peculiar to the MP concerned, and in exercise of this discretion, out of 245 sitting MPs in the Rajya Sabha, 115 have been granted accommodation above their default’ entitlement.

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His counsel had told the high court that the MP has been provided Z+ security in view of threats, and a large contingent of security personnel was required to be deployed at his residence. The personnel cannot be accommodated in the bungalow earlier allotted to him at Pandara Park. Punjab’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has accorded Z+ security to Chadha who is a Rajya Sabha MP from there.

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.

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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