HC rejects Punjab plea on Bhattal’s govt house

Government accommodation

Says furnish details of govt accommodations in state

The Punjab government on Monday faced some tough questions from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on unauthorised occupation of government houses. So much so that the court rejected its affidavit on the government house of former leader of opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

The state counsel informed the high court that the matter concerning Bhattal's government accommodation — house number 46 in Sector 2 — was pending with the Punjab Chief Minister, and it was under process for initiation of proceedings under the Public Premises Act. But the court rejected the affidavit containing this information.

Contending that as many as 1,300 houses in Chandigarh were occupied by state officials, the state counsel sought more time to furnish details. Taking the plea into consideration, the court of Justice Rajesh Bindal directed the state to file a detailed reply mentioning the status of government accommodations in the entire state.

The court came down heavily on the state government when it asked about the expenditure incurred on the government accommodation of former Punjab DGP P S Gill in Sector 16 — the case was first reported by Chandigarh Newsline last year. The state orally informed the court that Rs 72 lakh were spent on the renovation of the house. It was further submitted that since Gill had served in Jammu and Kashmir and he faced security threats, he was provided with Z-plus security and pre-fabricated structures were installed at his residence.

On this, Justice Bindal observed that the Punjab government had spent Rs 72 lakh and the UT had spent Rs 40 lakh on the same house. "With Rs 72 lakh, a new house can be constructed. Now after vacating the house, he is not having threats. Only money had saved his life," the court noted.

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