February 20, 2019 2:22:03 am
The Patna High Court on Tuesday ordered former Bihar chief ministers — Rabri Devi, Jagannath Mishra, Jitan Ram Manjhi and Satish Prasad Singh — to vacate government bungalows. However, it said a former CM may not need to vacate a bungalow if he or she is entitled to the same category.
The court had also served a notice on CM Nitish Kumar but withdrew it after the state government told the court that the said bungalow on 7, Circular Road, is allotted to the Chief Secretary.
While Rabri Devi and Lalu Prasad have been living at 10, Circular Road, former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi has been staying at a Strand Road bungalow. Two other former CMs, Jagannath Mishra and Satish Prasad Singh, have been allotted government bungalows at Hardinge Road in Patna’s VVIP area.
After Nitish Kumar became CM in 2005 and moved to 1, Anne Marg, the bungalow was made the CM’s official residence. After demitting office after 2014 polls, Nitish had moved to 7, Circular Road, but returned to the official CM residence several months after returning as the CM.
All former CMs have their own houses in Patna.
A division bench of Justices AP Sahi and Anjana Mishra said in their order: “All the said allottees therefore, are called upon to vacate the premises allotted to them unless they are otherwise entitled to retain the same under any other law of allotment for the time being in force in the State of Bihar. The Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar, is therefore, directed to issue an appropriate order in the light of above.”
Bihar Advocate General Lalit Kishore said: “The court order is very clear with the rider that if a former CM is entitled to the category of the same government bungalow in any other capacity, he or she can retain it.” Asked if Rabri Devi can retain her bungalow in capacity as Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, he said: “The building construction department can tell…”
Former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi said: “I respect the court order”.
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