यूपी के पत्रकारों को बड़ी राहत, सरकारी मकान खाली करने पर कोर्ट ने दिया स्टे

अखिलेश यादव के मुख्यमंत्रित्व काल में पत्रकारों को सरकारी आवास छोड़ने का फरमान जारी कर दिया गया था. ऐसा सुप्रीम कोर्ट के उस आदेश के अनुपालन में किए जाने का दावा किया गया था जिसमें कहा गया था कि पूर्व मुख्यमंत्रियों को सरकारी बंगला खाली करना होगा.

तो इस आदेश की व्याख्या अखिलेश सरकार ने इस रूप में की कि सभी पत्रकारों को भी मकान खाली करने को बोल दिया. इस आदेश के खिलाफ लखनऊ के वरिष्ठ पत्रकार शरत प्रधान कोर्ट चले गए.

हाईकोर्ट का कहना है कि सुप्रीम कोर्ट का आदेश पत्रकारों पर लागू होता नहीं जान पड़ता. इसलिए फौरी तौर पर शरत प्रधान को राहत देते हुए अगले आदेश तक मकान खाली करने के आदेश को रोका जाता है. देखें आदेश की कापी….

JUDGMENT/ORDER IN – MISC. BENCH No. 2150 of 2019 at Lucknow Dated-24.1.2019 CASE TITLE – Sharat Chandra Pradhan Vs. State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Estate Deptt. & Anr.

Court No. – 5

Case :- MISC. BENCH No. – 2150 of 2019

Petitioner :- Sharat Chandra Pradhan
Respondent :- State Of U.P. Thru. Prin. Secy. Estate Deptt. & Anr.
Counsel for Petitioner :- Sanjay Bhasin,Kshitij Mishra,Ramendra Kumar Yadav
Counsel for Respondent :- C.S.C.

Hon’ble Dr. Devendra Kumar Arora,J.
Hon’ble Narendra Kumar Johari,J.

Heard Sri Sanjay Bhasin, learned Counsel for the petitioner and Sri Rakesh Bajpai, learned Counsel for the opposite parties.

It has been argued by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that by the impugned order dated 19.08.2016, the allotment of House No.B-4 Dilkusha Colony, Lucknow, allotted to petitioner, has been cancelled by the Special Secretary & Rajya Sampatti Adhikari under the garb of the judgment of the Apex Court rendered in the case of Lok Prahari Vs. State of U.P. and others; (2016) 8 SCC 389. In the instant writ petition, the petitioner has also assailed the order dated 31.12.2018, whereby the opposite party no.2 while exercising powers conferred under Section 3 of the U.P. Premises (Eviction of Certain Unauthorized Occupants) Act directed the petitioner to vacate the allotted premises within 15 days otherwise the same would be vacated by use of force.

Submission of learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner is a working as Journalist within the meaning of Section 2(f) of the Working Journalist and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 and is presently working with “Sakal Group of Newspapers”. The petitioner was allotted Government Accommodation No. B-4, Dilkusha Colony on 20.08.1986 in accordance with the Rules Governing Allotment of Houses to Journalists, 1985, which has been framed under Rule 45 of the U.P. Fundamental Rules.

It has also been submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that in the case of Lok Prahari (Supra), which was delivered by the Apex Court on 01.08.2016, it has been provided that Rules 1997 relating to allotment of Government accommodation to Ex-Chief Ministers of the State of Uttar Pradesh being not in consonance with the provisions of U.P. Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions), Act, 1981 were bad in law and the Government bungalows allotted to such persons was bad in law and they were directed to handover possession of the bungalows occupied by them within two months from the date of the judgment and the Government would recover appropriate rent from the occupants of the said bungalows for the period during which they remain in unauthorized occupation of the said bungalows. The Apex Court in para 40 of the said judgment clarified that it was inappropriate to consider the issue dealt with in the case of Shiv Sagar Tewari Vs. Union of India (1997) 1 SCC 444 regarding allotment of houses to journalists.

Learned Counsel for the petitioner has further submitted that after the judgment rendered in the case of Lok Prahari (Supra), the State Government promulgated an Act known as “Allotment of Houses Under Control of the Estate Department Act, 2016”, whereby provisions have been made for allotment of government accommodation to the journalists and the said Act was amended subsequently for Senior Journalists. By the amended Act Senior Journalists were also made eligible for allotment of Government Accommodation. Rule 22 of the Allotment of Houses Under Control of the Estate Department Rules 2016 provides that any valid allotment of a house which is subsisting immediately before the commencement of these rules, under the rules in-force at the relevant time, shall be deemed to be an allotment duly made under these rules notwithstanding that the allottee is not entitled to a house of that type and all the provisions of these rules shall apply in relation to the allotment and that allottee accordingly.

In the backdrop of the aforesaid facts, it has been vehemently asserted that the petitioner, who is working as Senior Journalist, was allotted a Government Accommodation/ house in question in pursuance to the existing rules at the relevant time and even the subsequent enactment also provides for allotment of Government Accommodation to the Journalists and Senior Journalists but all allotments made in earlier Rules have been protected by virtue of Rules 22 of the 2016 Rules and, therefore, the issue needs revisit by the the concerned authorities as it has been raised time and again by the Organization of Journalists before the higher echelons of the State but without its disposal, the order dated 31.12.2018 has been passed directing the petitioner to vacate the house in question, which is highly unjustified and whimsical.

In contrast, Sri Rakesh Bajpai, learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel has submitted that the allotment of house in question/ government accommodation to the petitioner has been cancelled in pursuance to law laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Lok Prahari (Supra), which provides that if any allotment was not made in accordance with a statutory provision at the relevant time, it must be discontinued and must be treated as cancelled and the State Government shall take possession of such premises. It has also been urged that since the allotment of the petitioner has been cancelled, he is not entitled for the benefit of 2016 Rules..
We have examined the submissions of learned Counsel for the parties and perused the record.

In para 44 of the judgment rendered in the case of Lok Prahari (Supra), the Apex Court examined the issue with regard to allotment of bungalow to private trusts or societies are concerned, and it was observed that all those bungalows were allotted to the societies/ trusts/ organizations at the time when there was no provision with regard to allotment of government bungalows to them. Therefore, it was held that the said allotment cannot be held to be justified. Thus, it is apparent that the question with regard to legality of the allotment of government accommodation to journalists was never an issue before the Hon’ble Apex Court nor was there any direction of vacating the government accommodation allotted to the journalists. It also appears that the validity of the Rules Governing Allotment of Houses to Journalists, 1985 or the eligibility of journalists to be allotted residential accommodations by the State Government was also not an issue before the Apex Court. Furthermore, no where it was held by the Apex Court that the allotment of the government accommodation given to journalists would stand automatically annulled by the said judgment.

From the allotment letter, it is also evident that the house in question was allotted to the petitioner 30 paise per sq.feet, which was enhanced from time to time and it is informed that at present, the petitioner is paying 23000/- per month approximately.

Considering the facts in its entirety, prima-facie a case for interim relief is made out. Learned Additional Chief Standing Counsel prays for and is granted a week’s time to file counter affidavit.

List this case on 31.01.2019 as fresh.

Till the next date of listing, only the operation and implementation of order dated 31.12.2018 shall remain stayed.

Order Date :- 24.1.2019

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