Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has moved the Supreme Court against the issuance of a notice by Uttarakhand High Court on a plea for initiating a contempt proceeding against him for his failure to follow its order to pay market rent for a government bungalow allocated to him as a former Chief Minister.
Mr Koshyari, who sought stay of the high court order, contended that he is the sitting Governor of Maharashtra and referred to Article 361 of the Constitution which provides protection to President and Governors from invoking any such proceedings.
The plea said the amount of market rent has been arrived at without any rational and is highly exorbitant for residential premises in Dehradun and have not been ascertained without affording an opportunity to hear him.
Senior advocate Aman Sinha will be arguing for Maharashtra Governor in the matter before the top court. Mr Koshyari has sought stay on the contempt proceedings in the Uttarakhand high court.
The petition challenging the high court order has been filed through advocates Ardhendhu Mauli Prasad and Pravesh Thakur.
Mr Sinha had earlier argued an identical matter in which the top court had stayed the contempt proceedings initiated against Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal for alleged non-compliance with the Uttarakhand High Court's last year order on payment of rent by former chief ministers of the state for occupying government accommodation.
The Uttarakhand High Court on May 3 last year ordered the former chief ministers of the state to pay market rent for the entire period they continued to occupy government accommodation since demitting office.
The high court had declared all government orders from 2001 providing housing and other facilities to former chief ministers in the state as illegal and unconstitutional.
The high court had directed that all amount due and payable towards amenities such as electricity, water, petrol and oil provided by the state to the former chief ministers should be computed by the state government within four months from the date of receipt of the copy of the order.
It had also said that the amount should be intimated to the former chief ministers, who shall within six months from the date of such intimation, pay the said amount to the state government.
The high court had passed the order on a plea by a Dehradun-based NGO. The NGO had filed a plea in the high court alleging non-compliance of the order.
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