SC stays contempt proceedings in Uttarakhand HC against ex-CMs, Chief Secretary

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the contempt proceedings pending in the Uttarakhand High Court against former Chief Ministers and Chief Secretary who have not yet started paying rent for the accommodations allotted to them.

A bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman issues notice to the Uttarakhand government on a plea filed by Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and tagged the matter with other similar petitions pending before it.

Nishank had moved the apex court against an order of the Uttarakhand High Court asking former Chief Ministers to pay market rent for the bungalows allotted to them.

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Earlier, the Uttarakhand High Court had issued show-cause notices to former Chief Ministers and the state Chief Secretary while hearing a contempt petition over non-compliance of the order on dues for facilities used by the former Chief Ministers for years.

The five Chief Ministers who faced the burden of market rent were late ND Tiwari, BS Koshiyari, BC Khanduri, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Vijay Bahuguna.

The Uttarakhand High Court had quashed legislation, passed by the state government, which permitted the former Chief Ministers to pay appropriate rent instead of market rent for the bungalow allotted to them.

The appropriate rent was 25 per cent more than the standard rent.
However, after the Supreme Court’s 2016 order asking former Chief Ministers to vacate official accommodations, the state had got the bungalows vacated, but, arrears remained unpaid.

The High Court, after finding that the government was delaying recoveries of market rent, had initiated contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary and former Chief Ministers. 

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