SC stops bungalow allotment after govt chooses UPSC over retd judge

Front

Strongly disapproving of the urban development ministry's decision to allot a bungalow in New Delhi to a UPSC member instead of a retired judge, the Supreme Court has restrained the government from allotting the prized Type VI and VII bungalows until next week.

It also ticked off the urban development secretary for going back on an undertaking on allotting a bungalow to the retired judge and demanded a reply on why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him.

A bench of Justices C K Prasad and Kurian Joseph came down heavily on MoUD Secretary Sudhir Krishna for reneging on his affidavit to the court regarding allotment of a Type VII bungalow to retired Supreme Court judge Justice Mukundakam Sharma, who heads the Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal.

"He gives his undertaking and then retracts from it. We will show the secretary his right place. We are taking it very seriously. When a number of judges are already in the queue and waiting for allotment of residential accommodation, you allot it to a UPSC member only because he can dance to your tunes," the bench told Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, who appeared for the government.

The bench recalled the court had disposed of the application for making available government accommodation to Sharma after recording the undertaking of the secretary that the ministry had no objection to allotting a Type VII bungalow in New Moti Bagh to the retired judge.

"While the request by this judge was pending for long, you don't allot it to him but give to one of your babus. Why? Only because he is a retired judge?" the court asked last week and demanded an explanation from the secretary why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him.

Parasaran sought to mollify the bench by placing an affidavit on record but the bench discarded it, saying the court wanted a reply to the show cause of the contempt notice and an affidavit would not come to his rescue.

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