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Raghav Chadha Bungalow Row: Delhi HC reserves order on plea challenging trial court

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved an order for Aam Aadmi Party MP Raghav Chadha's plea challenging the trial court order, which enabled the Rajya Sabha Secretariat to evict him from the government accommodation.

The bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani after the conclusion of submissions at length of both sides, reserved the order
Appearing for Raghav Chadha, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted his plea which stated that It's not a normal case of overstaying, not a case of fresh allotment, or normal public property eviction.

It's a case wherein proper application of mind by the Vice President, the highest authority of the country, leads to an offer of allotment and acceptance of allotment to me. My physical occupation is since November 9, 2022.

"I am in charge of Punjab and 100's of politicians come to meet me and it's because of space. My family is living there. The sole ground of dismissal is very strange, even though no urgency has been demonstrated. There cannot be a bigger urgency wherein I've been thrown out where my family is also living", Chadha stated in the plea.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against Patiala House Court's recent order which has enabled Rajya Sabha Secretariat to evict Raghav Chadha from his current accommodation.

The trial Court Judge Additional District Judge Sudhanshu Kaushik in an order passed on October 5, 2023, stated that on April 14 an interim relief was granted to the plaintiff (Raghav Chadha) that he would not be dispossessed from the accommodation without due process of law. This is certainly an error apparent on the face of the record and the same needs to be corrected. Accordingly, the order dated April 18, 2023, stands recalled and the interim order stands vacated.

Further, after hearing the parties, I find that the plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that any urgent or immediate relief needs to be granted in the present matter for which leave could be granted under Section 80(2) of CPC. Plaintiff's allotment was cancelled on March 3, 20223, whereas, the suit was instituted on April 17, 2023. The accommodation granted to the plaintiff falls under the definition of Public Premises.

As observed in the preceding paras, the accommodation allotted to the plaintiff is only a privilege given to him as a Member of Parliament. He has no vested right to continue to occupy the same after the privilege has been withdrawn and the allotment has been cancelled. The argument that the plaintiff was not given a hearing before the cancellation of allotment stands rejected as no such notice was required under the Law, said the ADJ Sudhanshu Kaushik.

Earlier on April 18, the Court in its interim order directed that Raghav Chadha, who is staying there with his parents shall not be dispossessed from the Bungalow without
due process of law.

The court had also said a prima facie case is made out for issuing directions to the effect that plaintiff/Raghav Chadha shall not be dispossessed from Bungalow No.AB-5, Pandara Road, New Delhi without due process of law.
The balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff as he is residing in the accommodation along with his parents. Plaintiff would indeed suffer irreparable injury, in case, he is dispossessed without the due process of law, said the Court.

Accordingly, till the next date of hearing, the defendant is directed not to dispossess the plaintiff from Bungalow No.AB-5, Pandara Road, New Delhi without due process of law. Notice of the application under Section 80 (2) of CPC be issued to the defendant to show cause in respect of the relief claimed in the suit, added to the court in the order passed on April 18, 2023.

Raghav Chadha stated in his civil suit that on July 6, 2022, he was allotted bungalow No.C-1/12, Pandara Park, New Delhi which falls under the category of Type VI bungalow.

Thereafter, on August 29, 2022, plaintiff Raghav made a representation to the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, requesting the allotment of Type VII accommodation. The said representation of the plaintiff was considered and on September 3, 2022, instead of earlier accommodation, he was allotted Bungalow No.AB-5, Pandara Road, New Delhi from Rajya Sabha Pool.
The plaintiff accepted the allotment and started residing therein along with his parents after carrying out renovation work. It has been stated that the plaintiff took physical possession of the bungalow on November 9, 2022, and the allotment made in his favour was notified in the official gazette. The plaintiff has mentioned that he came to know that the allotment made in his favour had been cancelled arbitrarily and this fact was communicated to him on dated March 3, 2023.

Through the suit, Raghav Chadha has sought directions that a letter dated March 3, 2023, issued by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat may be declared as illegal. He has also sought a permanent injunction to the effect that the defendant and their associates may be restrained from taking any further action in consequence of the letter and they may also be restrained from allotting the bungalow to some other person.

Apart from this, Raghav Chadha has also sought damages to the tune of Rs 5,50,000/- from the defendant for causing mental agony and harassment, stated the suit.

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