Illegal occupation: SC extends time for filing response

Supreme Court gave 4 more weeks to various persons, including former Bihar governor Buta Singh, to file replies to allegations that they are occupying government accommodations here unauthorisedly.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave four more weeks to various persons, including former Bihar governor Buta Singh, to file their replies to the allegations that they are occupying government accommodations here unauthorisedly.

A Bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya also directed the authorities concerned that they will not go ahead with allotment of those premises without its consent, if vacated by unauthorised occupants.

"We are making it clear that if any such accommodation is vacated during the period (before the next hearing) it shall not be allotted without bringing it to its notice," the bench said while posting the matter for hearing in last week of January 2013.

The bench also asked the Centre to be cautious and verify before making the names public as it has a bearing on the "reputation" of the person concerned.

The bench made the statement after it was told by senior advocate Bishwajeet Bhattacharya that name of senior Income Tax officer Amit Kumar Bhattacharya was among the list of unauthorised occupant advertised by the Centre after October 10 order despite the fact that he had vacated the accommodation on September 28.

The court also said illegal occupation of the government bungalows was causing difficulties for retired judges who are heading tribunals and other such bodies.

"Former judges are made to run from one place to another and bureaucrats of class one get the accommodation at the first instance.

"We are all aware of it. It is not only happening in the national capital but it happens throughout the country," the bench observed.

The court had on October 10 issued notices to former Bihar governor Buta Singh, ex-Delhi Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal and many other serving and retired bureaucrats and IPS officers for unauthorised occupation of government bungalows in the national capital.

The court wanted to know from the alleged unauthorized occupants, who also included some journalists as to "why they should not be evicted."

On the court`s direction, a public notice was issued by the Centre in an English and a Hindi newspaper incorporating names of all unauthorised occupants.

"Time has come for intervention. Let notice be issued to all who are unauthorisedly occupying government accommodations," the bench had said.

"We are prima facie satisfied that that they (unauthorised occupants) do not have legal and constitutional rights to occupy the premises after their retirement," the bench had said after going through the list of unauthorised occupants placed before it by the Centre.

The list contains names of more than 150 people who are illegally occupying different types of government accommodations in the city. It also contains the name of members of various commissions.

The bench, after going through the list, had expressed surprise over the government`s failure in removing the unauthorised occupants some of them have been illegally occupying the premises for more than ten years.