Bhuvan Khanduri wrapped up for occupying government houses after demitting office
Uttarakhand High Court Monday issued a notice to former chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri for not responding to earlier notices in connection with a PIL alleging non-recovery of enough rent from former CMs for occupying government houses for years after demitting office.
The former CMs named in the PIL including Khanduri have already vacated the accommodations after the intervention of the high court.
Taking a strict view of Khanduri not responding to the earlier notices sent to him by registered post, a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Lok Pal Singh directed that the notice be served to him personally.
The bench also gave the former CM ten days' time to respond to the notice failing which the court may have to take resort to the publication of the notice in a paper, counsel for the petitioner Kartikeya Hari Gupta said.
According to the PIL, appropriate rent was not recovered from the former CMs as it was calculated "illegally" at the rate of Rs 1000 per month which is "much less" than the current market rate.
The rent calculation has been done illegally and on the basis of a government order of the year 2004 and the 1997 Rules which have already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the council claimed.
The petitioner has also objected to a meagre rent paid by former CMs Vijay Bahuguna and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, stating that their payment is not in accordance with the Supreme Court Order which had ordered recovery of "appropriate rent" from the former CMs.
The High Court in its order dated February 16, 2017, had also directed the state government to calculate the rent on the market rate which the government has not calculated till date, the petitoner said.
(With inputs from agencies.)