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Former Presidents Of India, Prime Ministers, May Soon Lose Official Accommodation

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| January 7 , 2018 , 08:11 IST

Former Presidents of India, including Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee and former Prime Ministers H D Deve Gowda, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh may soon lose their official government accommodations.

According to a report by ex-solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, holders of the top constitutional posts such as President and Prime Minister, become ordinary citizens after they demit office and therefore should not be entitled to official housing.

Last year in August, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha had appointed Subramanium as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter of a PIL filed by the NGO 'Lok Prahari' challenging an Uttar Pradesh law that granted former Chief Ministers official accommodations.

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"We are of the view that the issue raised in this writ petition gives rise to questions of considerable public importance, which may also have an impact on pari materia (similar) legislation in force in different states and also central legislations, if any. We are of the view that there is necessity for in-depth consideration and examination of the several facets of the issue involved," the bench had said.

Subramanium, in his report, said that while the former office-holders should be entitled to minimal courtesies of protocol, but not necessarily official housing.  

"Once an office-holder (President, PM, CM, etc) demits office, he or she ceases to be an occupant of that public office and is, therefore, shorn of all its adornments. He or she reverts to being a citizen of India, and ought to be granted no greater privilege than that afforded to other citizens of India, except for the minimal courtesies of protocol, pension and other regular post-retirement benefits," he said.

"Public property is not to be frittered away to private citizens, notwithstanding the high offices they may have previously occupied," Subramanium said.