The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed all former chief ministers who occupy government accommodation to vacate these within a month, the Hindustan Times reported.
A division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice A K Shrivastava said that Section 5 (1) of the MP Mantri Vetan Thatha Bhata Adhiniyam 1972 (MP Minister’s Salaries and Allowances Act), incorporated last year, was “unconstitutional”. The court was hearing a petition filed by a law student Raunaq Yadav who said that the ordinance was a waste of public money.
The petition also referred to a recent Supreme Court order that had quashed an amendment to Uttar Pradesh state laws that allowed former chief ministers to live in government bungalows. The Adityanath government had then issued notices to six former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party, to vacate their official bungalows in Lucknow in 15 days.
In Madhya Pradesh, former chief ministers Kailash Joshi, Uma Bharti, Babulal Gaur and Digvijaya Singh are likely to be affected by this order. At present, Uma Bharti is a minister in the Union government, Babulal Gaur is an MLA and Digvijaya Singh is a Rajya Sabha MP. Kailash Joshi does not hold any office.
Joshi told News18 that he was unaware of the High Court order. “If any such order has been passed, we will look into it,” he said.
Congress leader Vivek Tankha said that if the High Court had relied on the Uttar Pradesh precedent, all former chief ministers would have to vacate their government accommodation regardless of whether they are serving MPs or ministers, according to the Hindustan Times.