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Imaging: Shivam Agarwal[/caption]
Delhi High Court Thursday dismissed the pleas of Congress MPs Ambika Soni and Kumari Selja challenging government orders to evict them from large bungalows in Lutyens' Delhi, ruing that they had attempted to give "political overtones" to the matter.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also termed as "suspect" the allotment of the bungalows to the Rajya Sabha MPs when there was a possibility that their party would not return to power
after the 2014 general elections.
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He 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".
"I may, however, hurry to add that in the present case, I am unable to find the action of the Directorate of Estates (DoE) to be wrongful. It has, as aforesaid, stood established
that the petitioners in their capacity, as former Union Ministers and now Members of Rajya Sabha (RS), are entitled to a Type-VII accommodation and not to Type-VIII accommodation.
"Notwithstanding the same, the petitioners, just when the General Elections, 2014 to the Lok Sabha were being held, got allotted to themselves accommodations which were beyond their entitlement. ....
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"I am constrained to observe that the allotment of prime houses at that stage, when the possibility of the political party of which the petitioners are members ceasing to be the
ruling party, was on the anvil, is highly suspect," the judge said and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on each of them.
The court 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.
"The inference is that the petitioners (Soni and Selja), knowing that in the event of their political party not coming in power, they would not be able to stake their claim to the
said houses, chose to get the houses wrongfully allotted to themselves from the DoE which according to them being under the control of Ministry of Urban Development (MUD), acts at the behest of the MUD," the court noted in its judgement.