New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted former Union minister Sharad Yadav time till May 31, 2022 to vacate the official bungalow allotted to him as a member of Parliament on humanitarian ground.
The top court asked Yadav to furnish an undertaking within a week to the effect that he will vacate the bungalow by then. In the event of failure to submit the undertaking within a week, Yadav will have to vacate the premises immediately in compliance of an order of the Delhi high court.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant said, Having heard the counsel, we are of the view that end of justice would be met purely on humanitarian ground, if time to vacate the premises is granted to the petitioner under May 31, 2022 subject to his filing an undertaking that he shall vacate on or before the said date .
It said, The undertaking shall be filed within a period of one week from today failing which the petitioner shall lose the benefit of this order and would be liable to vacate immediately as per the order of the High Court .
At the outset, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Yadav, submitted that it may be possible to resolve the matter at this stage, if reasonable time is granted to the petitioner to vacate the premises.
Sibal submitted that having due regard to the fact that the petitioner is in serious medical condition at present, Yadav seeks to vacate the premises by May 31, 2022 and would file an undertaking to this effect.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain submitted that while his instructions are that a week’s time may be granted to vacate the premises but at the most the court can grant time till the end of April.
He claimed for the past 15 days Yadav has been attending public functions.
The ASG said in case Yadav’s petition against his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha, because of which he was to asked to vacate the bungalow, is dismissed, then he may be directed to pay the market rate rent to the government.
Sibal said there are several people of a particular political party who have overstayed in government quarters but no rent at market rate was collected.
They have been staying for years and they do not want those houses but they want this (Yadav’s) house , he said.
The bench did not go into the point raised by Sibal and disposed of Yadav’s plea.
On March 28, the top court had asked the Centre to specify what reasonable time could be given to Yadav on humanitarian grounds to vacate the government bungalow as he is undergoing treatment for multiple ailments.
The Centre had earlier informed the Supreme Court that there was a shortage of government accommodations and Union minister Pashupati Kumar Paras was waiting for Yadav’s bungalow to be vacated.
Yadav was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2017. He had moved the top court challenging an order of the Delhi High Court directing him to vacate within 15 days the government bungalow after he was disqualified from the Upper House the same year.
Yadav, who was then a JD(U) MP, was disqualified under the anti-defection law on an application by his party which objected to the socialist leader attending an opposition rally in Patna.
The petition by the 75-year-old leader said his case deserved sympathetic treatment on account of his ill health. It said he has been hospitalised 13 times since July 2020 and was last discharged in February.
The high court had on March 15 directed Yadav to hand over the bungalow at 7, Tughlak Road to the government within 15 days, saying more than four years have elapsed since he was disqualified as an MP.
In his plea before the apex court, Yadav said he is residing there for 22 years and the high court passed the order even though his challenge to his improper and erroneous disqualification has not been decided yet by the court.
Yadav had approached the high court in 2017 challenging his disqualification on several grounds, including that he was not given a chance to present his views by the House chairman before he passed the order.