the Uttarakhand high court passed a judgement on 9th June 2020 in the case Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra v. State of Uttarakhand and others (Writ Petition (PIL) No. 07 of 2020) the case was presided over by the Honourable chief justice Mr. Ramesh Ranganathan and Honourable justice Mr. R.C. Khulbe
FACTS OF THE CASE
This Writ Petition was filed in public interest seeking a writ, order or direction declaring the Uttarakhand Former Chief Ministers Facility (Residential and other facilities) Act, 2019 as arbitrary, illegal and ultra vires the Constitution of India; and for a writ of mandamus directing the Government of Uttarakhand not to implement and follow the provisions of Act 5 of 2020.
The petitioner is an organisation espousing causes in public interest, had hitherto filed Writ Petition (PIL) No. 90 of 2010 before this Court seeking a writ of certiorari to quash various proceedings issued by the State Government extending certain facilities to Ex-Chief Ministers; a writ of mandamus directing the Government of Uttarakhand not to provide any facility, from the government exchequer, to respondents 2 to 6 as entitlement of the Ex- Chief Ministers; a writ of mandamus directing the State Government to get the government accommodation, occupied by respondents 2 to 6 respectively, vacated; and a writ of mandamus directing the State of Uttarakhand to recover the amount spent, on behalf of respondents 2 to 6, with respect to the facilities provided to them as Ex-Chief Ministers of the State.
As both Section 4(a) which permits recovery of a lesser amount, than the market rent, as rent for the accommodation provided to former Chief Ministers, and Section 4(c) whereby various facilities were extended to them free of cost, suffer from manifest arbitrariness, they are ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution, and are declared void and unenforceable. Consequently, on Sections 4(a) and (c) being struck down, Section 4(d) becomes redundant and ceases to have any effect. The words “or any order” in Section 8 of Act 5 of 2020 are also liable to be struck down to the extent any facility provided by any such order falls within the ambit of Sections 4(a) and (c) of Act 5 of 2020.
The Writ Petition is allowed. However, in the circumstances, without costs.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ANANTH PAI