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Take 'appropriate action' against Mukul: HC directs RS Secretariat

Take appropriate action against Mukul: HC directs RS Secretariat
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court recently directed the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the chairman of the Housing Committee for taking "appropriate action" against former Parliamentarians for illegally occupying government accommodation.

It may be mentioned that an RTI was filed by Arindam Ghosh, an advocate, early this year for illegally occupying government accommodation by former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Mukul Roy for one and half years and not paying rent for six months.

Roy, who had resigned from the Upper House of the Parliament on October 11, 2017, requested the House Committee of Rajya Sabha for an extension for six months of stay at 181, South Avenue MP Flat, after one month's concessional period ' at market rent'. On the respective dates of February 11, May 2 and June 26 last year, Roy wrote a letter to the House Committee for seeking a further one-year extension after the chairman decided to cancel his extension, but later it was granted.

However, on that matter calling the procedure "illegal", the court mentioned in its statement, "The rules clearly stipulate that members of Rajya Sabha can retain residential accommodation allotted to them only for a maximum period of one month after resignation/ retirement. The occupation of such accommodations is per se illegal. For that, the replies to the RTI applications reveal that the ex-MPs are being illegally allowed to occupy such government accommodations. Even if it is assumed that such an extension is permissible without regular payment of market rate rent for the period of their extended stay."

On the other side, according to a letter from the Director of Estates in February 2019, the Committee received the last rent in November 2018. However, the court also said that the market rate for Lok Sabha pool of accommodations was determined in 2005.

As such the rates cannot be made applicable to MPs of Rajya Sabha.

"Such market rates being more than a decade old, are unacceptable as they make a significant dent in the pockets of the public exchequer," the court statement added.

The court further assured of an appropriate course of actions would be initiated by the respondent authorities under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupation) Act, 1971.

Apart from Mukul Roy, names of former Rajya Sabha MPs Rangaswamy Ramakrishna, Rajni Patel and Thomas Sangma are also mentioned in the RTI.

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