New Delhi: Delhi High Court today said that while it was willing to set aside costs imposed upon Congress MPs Kumari Selja and Ambika Soni, the judgement by which it was held that they were not entitled to accommodation in type-VIII bungalows cannot be interfered with.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath made the observation on the appeals by the two Rajya Sabha MPs against the high court’s July 30 judgement by which their pleas challenging the Centre’s orders to evict them from large type-VIII bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi were dismissed. “The costs we will set aside. But rest of judgement can’t be interfered with,” the court said. Costs of Rs 25,000 was imposed on both of them by the high court while dismissing their pleas on July 30.
However, on the request of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the MPs, the bench while itself refusing to hear it, directed the registry to list it before another bench on August 11. Sibal said that the MPs were not saying they were entitled to the larger accommodation, but rather their contention is “how can the estate office set aside an allotment made by the House committee”. Central Government Standing Counsel Jasmeet Singh opposed the appeals of the MPs. A single-judge bench had dismissed the pleas of Soni and Selja, saying they had attempted to give “political overtones” to the matter.
The judge had said he was “sad to note” that the two MPs, “merely for the sake of retaining a house to which they are not entitled, have attempted to give political overtones to the matter”. The court had also said that even if the two MPS felt they were entitled to the said houses, they should have waited for the new government to come to power to stake their claim. It had termed as “misconceived” the Congress leaders’ plea that they were entitled to type-VIII bungalows, saying as per the guidelines “only a former Union Cabinet Minister and a former Speaker of Lok Sabha or a former Governor of a state or a former Chief Minister of a state are entitled to a type-VIII accommodation”.
“Though the petitioners claim to be former Union Cabinet Ministers but they were admittedly at no time occupying the office, either of a Speaker of Lok Sabha or of a Governor of a state or of Chief Minister of a state,” it had said. It had also said that a Rajya Sabha member who in the past has held the position only as a Union Cabinet Minister, is entitled to Type-VII accommodation only.