'Consider on humanitarian grounds', SC to Centre on Sharad Yadav plea on vacating govt bungalow
The Delhi high court had earlier noted that he was disqualified as a Rajya Sabha MP in 2017 and so there can be no justification for retaining the official residence
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to consider on humanitarian grounds, a plea by former Union minister Sharad Yadav against a Delhi High Court order directing him to vacate within 15 days a government bungalow.
The high court had noted that he was disqualified as a Rajya Sabha MP in 2017 and so there can be no justification for retaining the official residence.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Yadav, submitted before a bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that the appeal filed challenging disqualification is still pending. "Anyways, my term ends in July. So, I will give an undertaking that he will vacate once the term is over. He was on a ventilator... he had to go for dialysis every day. He couldn't even move", said Sibal. Yadav is now 75-years-old.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Centre, submitted that the government is facing shortage of houses for MPs and ministers, and after the expansion of the Cabinet, the shortage is more acute. Jain added an official residence is allotted to an MP from Bihar, and July is only a couple of months away.
The bench, also comprising Justice Surya Kant, told Jain: "We are not on the politics of it or violation of whip etc.,... but thinking of some way out on purely humanitarian grounds based on his medical condition."
The bench asked Yadav's counsel, "tell us a reasonable time by which you can vacate. We will adjourn the hearing." The bench also asked Jain to take instructions from the government, and consider the matter on humanitarian grounds.
After hearing arguments, the bench scheduled the matter for further hearing later in the week.
On March 15, the high court had directed Yadav to hand over the bungalow at 7, Tughlak Road here to the government within 15 days. The court noted that more than four years have elapsed since he was disqualified as an MP.
Yadav, in his plea, contended that he has been residing there for 22 years and the high court had passed the order even though his challenge to his "improper and erroneous disqualification" has not been decided by the court.
The plea, filed through advocate Javedur Rahman, said: "The high court appears to have revived a disposed of application and passed further orders therein vacating the earlier interim order of the high court dated December 15, 2017 and directed the petitioner...."
The plea further added that the challenge to the legality of his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha is still pending before the high court.
The plea contended that his case "deserved sympathetic treatment" on account of his ill health and pointed out that he has been hospitalised 13 times since July 2020 and was last discharged in February.