Expelled Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra faced a setback on Thursday as the Delhi High Court declined to grant relief by staying the eviction notice served to her, instructing her to vacate the government bungalow. Justice Girish Kathpalia expressed that no specific rule addressing the eviction of MPs from government accommodation post-expulsion has been presented before the court.
The court emphasized that due to the pending issue of Moitra's expulsion before the Supreme Court, coupled with the interconnected matter of extending the time to vacate the government accommodation, it was not inclined to invoke jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution at this stage. The court dismissed the application, listing Moitra's petition challenging the eviction notice for further hearing on January 24.
Moitra, a Trinamool Congress leader, had sought to restrain authorities from evicting her based on medical grounds, citing her expulsion. She urged the court to grant her some time, considering her health condition and ongoing medical treatment.
While Moitra's lawyer requested a four-month extension, the Additional Solicitor General and the central government's standing counsel, representing the Directorate of Estates (DoE), opposed the plea. They argued that there was no mention of any medical or humanitarian condition in her representation to the authorities and highlighted the waiting list of 2,188 people for similar accommodations.
The court noted Moitra's representation showed her constituency was Krishnanagar in West Bengal, and the grounds of campaigning in Delhi for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were not valid. The court also highlighted that Moitra's allotment of government accommodation was linked to her status as an MP, and as her status had ceased upon expulsion, she had no right to continue in the bungalow.
The court observed that Moitra's request for an extension appeared to be a matter of political expediency rather than a medical issue. It stated that seeking relief for an extension of time to vacate the government accommodation could have been pursued before the Supreme Court, where the dispute of her expulsion is pending consideration.
The eviction notice, issued on January 16, instructed Moitra to vacate the bungalow immediately after her expulsion from the Lok Sabha on December 8, 2023. The expulsion was based on allegations of "unethical conduct" for accepting gifts and favors from a businessman in exchange for questioning a business rival in the Lok Sabha.
(With Agency Inputs)