Government accommodation is meant for serving officials and not retirees as a “benevolence”, the Supreme Court has said while setting aside an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court allowing a retired public servant to retain such premises.
Right to shelter does not mean right to government accommodation, the Supreme Court said, observing that direction to allow a retired public servant to retain such premises for an indefinite period is distribution of state largesse without any policy.
While allowing the appeal filed by the Centre, a bench of justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna set aside the High Court order and directed the retired Intelligence Bureau officer, a Kashmiri migrant, to hand over vacant physical possession of the premises on or before October 31, 2021.
The bench also directed the Centre to submit a report of action taken against retired public servants, who are in government accommodation post their retirement by virtue of orders of the high courts, by November 15, 2021.
The officer, who was transferred to Faridabad where he was allotted a government accommodation, had attained the age of superannuation from service on October 31, 2006.
“The right to shelter does not mean right to government accommodation. The government accommodation is meant for serving officers and officials and not to the retirees as a benevolence and distribution of largesse,” the bench said in its judgement passed last week.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea against the July 2011 order of a division bench of the high court which had dismissed a petition against its single judge order.
The single judge had said it was not possible for the retired officer to return to his own state due to which the order of eviction shall be kept in abeyance. The high court had also said the authorities were at liberty to provide alternative accommodation to him on nominal licence fee in Faridabad.