New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted time, till May 31, to former Union Minister Sharad Yadav to vacate the official bungalow allotted to him in Delhi in his capacity as an MP.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took note of Yadav’s ill-health and extended the time to vacate the official residence on humanitarian grounds.
The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant, said Yadav, 75, should file an undertaking that he will vacate the premises after May 31, this year.
It clarified that it has not gone into the issue of the validity of disqualification, which is pending before the high court, and disposed of Yadav’s plea by granting him time till May 31 to vacate the government bungalow.
On March 28, the apex court asked the Centre to consider, on humanitarian grounds, a plea by former Union Minister against a Delhi High Court order directing him to vacate the house within 15 days.
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.
In the apex court, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Yadav, submitted before a bench headed by Justice Chandrachud that the appeal filed challenging disqualification is still pending. “Anyways his term ends in July. So, he 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,” he said.
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. He added an official residence is allotted to an MP from Bihar, and July is only a couple of months away.
The bench 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.”
It 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, on considering the matter on humanitarian grounds.
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 challenge to the legality of his disqualification from 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.