Millennium Post

Loot in the name of legacy

Loot in the name of legacy
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Chief Ajit Singh’s demand to convert the 12, Tughlak Road house into a memorial for his late father Chaudhary Charan Singh was turned down by the central government and mounted pressure on the former union minister to vacate the house by disconnecting power and water supply to his residence eventually yielded result in Ajit Singh leaving the premises in an unceremonial manner.

Ajit Singh tried the entire trick up his sleeves to retain the official bungalow by bringing in approximately 10,000 activist of RLD and Bhartiya Kisan Union at Muradnagar, who later turned violent and tried to cut off water supply to Delhi from Gangnahar-Muradnagar regulator in Ghaziabad district, adjacent to the capital. The police had to resort to baton-charge and lob tear gas shells apart from firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd who perhaps had gathered for the first time for a selfish cause of Ajit Singh to continue the illegal occupation of lutyens property.

Chaudhary Charan Singh was the 6th Prime Minister of India, serving from 28 July 1979 until 14 January 1980. Charan Singh was born in a Jat family in 1902 in village Noorpur of Hapur District in Uttar Pradesh. He entered politics as part of the Independence movement and after Independence, he became particularly notable in the 1950s for opposing and winning a battle against Nehru’s socialistic and collectivist land use policies, for the sake of the Indian farmer, which endeared him to the agrarian communities throughout the nation, particularly in his native Uttar Pradesh. Chaudhary Charan Singh, who spent his entire life for the cause of the farmers of India, could have never imagined that his own son would use the same farmer’s power for retaining his Tughlak Road bungalow.

Opposition parties were swift in backing Ajit Singh. JD(U) again shot off a letter to Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu demanding that Singh’s residence, 12 Tughlaq Road, be declared a memorial in the name of former prime minister and farmer leader Chaudhary Charan Singh. In a letter to Naidu, JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi said that crores of people in the country have the same respect for farmer leader late Charan Singh as there is respect among Congressmen for Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and among BJP workers for Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay. ‘The government of India has built memorials in the name of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjeevan Ram, Kanshi Ram and other big leaders, which we welcome. At the same time, we demand that 12 Tughlaq Road be immediately declared a national memorial and the demand of lakhs of farmers should be fulfilled’.

The Apex Court in S D Bandi Versus Divisional Traffic Officer, KSRTC & Ors laid down the guidelines relating to the occupation of government accommodation by members of all the three branches of the state, viz., the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary beyond the period for which the same were allotted. The occupation of such government houses/quarters beyond the period prescribed causes difficulty in accommodating other persons waiting for allotment and, therefore, the government is at a loss on the one hand in not being able to accommodate those persons who are in need and on the other is unable to effectively deal with the persons who continue to occupy unauthorised beyond the period prescribed. The Apex Court after scrutinising all the material placed before them issued the following guidelines:

(i) At the time of allotment of the government accommodation to the three wings of the government, viz., the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, an undertaking should be taken from the allotee that he/she shall vacate the premises within the prescribed period under the rules failing which he/she will be liable to disciplinary action apart from any other liability that he/she may incur.

(ii) All arrears of rent including penal/market rent shall be recovered as arrears of land revenue.

(iii) The proviso to Section 11(1) of the Act should be declared ultra vires as it is in conflict with the main provisions of providing for offences and penalty for the unauthorised occupation of government houses.

(iv) Any person who is in service and continues to unauthorised occupy the government accommodation beyond the period of retention should be suspended immediately, pending disciplinary action as per the undertaking given at the time of taking the government quarter.

(v) Since allotment of government accommodation is a privilege given to the Ministers and Members of Parliament, the matter of unauthorised retention should be intimated to the speaker/chairman of the House and action should be initiated by the House Committee for the breach of the privileges which a member/minister enjoys and the appropriate Committee should recommend the same to the speaker/chairman for taking deterrent action.

(vi) In view of paucity of government accommodation, all the allotments to persons belonging to categories other than the three wings of the government should be henceforth immediately cancelled and discontinued as such allotments are made on discretion which is mostly abused.

(vii) All government houses which have been turned into memorials should be retrieved, memorials in government houses should be removed and no more memorials should be allowed in future.
Ajit Singh, as a veteran parliamentarian and scion of a great agrarian leader who went on to become the prime minister of our country, is expected to behave as a more responsible and mature politician. Parliament is the supreme law maker and if the makers of law turn into perpetrators it shall be a sad day in history of the world’s largest democracy.

The author is an advocate
Vikas Gupta

Vikas Gupta

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