With Supreme Court directing the eviction of former chief ministers from state bungalows within two months, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday introduced a Bill to facilitate their continuation in government accommodation for life time.
The Uttar Pradesh Ministers (salaries, allowances and miscellaneous provisions) (Amendment) Bill-2016, which was tabled in the state Assembly, provides for this facility to former chief ministers for life. “A government residence shall be allotted to a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, at his/her request, for his/her life time, on payment of such rent as may be determined from time to time by the Estate Department,” it stated.
The Bill was introduced after the apex court on August 1 ordered eviction of official bungalows allotted to six former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh within two months, upon finding that the 1997 rules of allotment, introduced by the state, were in contravention of the existing Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act- 1981.
“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,…. cannot be upheld,” it had said. “If any allotment was not made in accordance with a statutory provisions at the relevant time, it must be discontinued and must be treated as cancelled an the state shall take possession of such premises as soon as possible,” it added.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, in his written ‘Statement of Objects and Reasons’ — which was tabled in the House on Monday — stated: “In view of the security requirements of the former chief ministers, it has been decided to provide for allotment of official residence to them in the aforesaid Act.”
Citing price rise and escalation in cost of living, the same bill also revises the salary of ministers and also provides for compensatory allowance in case a residence is not made available to them during their term of office.
According to the Bill, the chief minister, ministers and ministers of state would be entitled to a salary of Rs 40,000 per month during their term, while a deputy minister would be entitled to a salary of Rs 35,000 per month.
The chief minister and each state minister would also be entitled to a residence in Lucknow without payment of rent during his term in office and for a period of 15 days thereafter. In case they are not provided with a residence or do not avail the benefit, they should be entitled to a compensatory allowance of Rs 10,000 per month for Chief Minister and Ministers, and Rs 8,000 for deputy minister.
Keeping Akhilesh’s promise made to journalists last week, the state government also tabled another Bill in the House for regulation of allotment of government accommodations to trusts, journalists, political parties, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly, judicial officers and government officials.
The Allotment of Houses under Control of the Estate Department Bill-2016 seeks to regulate the allotment of different types of houses and time period of allotment to journalists, gazetted officials and officers of judicial services. As per the provisions of the Bill, allotment of houses to officers of All India Services, judicial service, employees of the state government would be done for the period of their posting in Lucknow and up to 30 days of their transfer.
However, allotment to other applicants including journalists would be done for two years and the renewal shall be considered for one year at a time.
The allotment to a trust shall be made for a maximum period of five years and the renewal for a further period of five years, the Bill says.
It also states that the rent of the houses allotted under the provisions of the Bill shall be charged at market rate in case of trust and society, but in case of former chie ministers, journalists, officers, political parties and government officials, it shall be charged at “such a rate as may be prescribed”.