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Housing for govt employees not largesse, says Madras High Court

"It cannot be said that the scheme for government servants is bad in law. The role of the government as an employer to provide benefit to its employees would thus come into being," said the Court

By: PTI | Chennai |
December 14, 2016 2:44:40 am
Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Housing for government employees, Latest news, Madras High Court news, Latest news, India news The Madras High Court.

The Madras High court has disposed of a PIL challenging a housing scheme for government officials, holding it was neither a largesse to them nor bad in law as it is the state’s duty as a model employer to give such benefits, more so when construction cost is borne by the beneficiaries. The Tamil Nadu government’s 2011 ‘Own your Housing Scheme’ was challenged by a lawyer P Pugalenthi, who contended that only those who did not have houses can be eligible for such schemes as per norms.

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The housing scheme was proposed to be executed in Thiruvallur district. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, said it cannot be held to be bad in law.

“It cannot be said that the scheme for government servants is bad in law. The role of the government as an employer to provide benefit to its employees would thus come into being.”

The court noted there have been similar schemes in the past for various sections of the public.

Noting that the government as a model employer cannot be faulted on this aspect, the court said it is unable to conclude that it was largesse to government servants.

It noted that the construction cost was to be borne by the beneficiaries through a self-financing process.

The petitioner alleged that the Government Order which envisaged the scheme was announced just before the 2011 assembly polls and wanted it to be quashed.

He contended there can be any number of special schemes for government servants, but not one to ‘confer largesse’ by way of plots/flats/houses to those who already have them and that the scheme should be only for the homeless.

Disposing of the plea, the bench said “We are thus not inclined to pass any further directions or quash the Government Order in question.”

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