Are journalists enjoying the largesse of the MP government?
Hearing a PIL in alleging irregularities in allotment of government accommodation to journalists, a bench headed by Chief Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Alok Aradhe of the High Court of the Madhya Pradesh (MP) has issued a notice to the MP state government. The PIL was filed by a retired government employee, Shriprakash Dixit, alleging that over the last three decades, the political parties have grossly misused the provision to allot houses under ‘Press pool’.
The petitioner requested the court to evict the occupants claiming they were illegal and unauthorized. The petitioner claimed that spokesperson of political parties, newspaper owners, retired journalists, those journalist who have been transferred out of state are occupying government bungalows for years at MP. On the basis of information obtained from the Directorate of Estates, the petitioner argued that out of the 187 houses allotted under the ‘Press pool’ category, 171 are under unauthorised occupation. Referring to the rules, the petitioner argued that houses under such category can be allotted for one year and can be extended by another year twice. The petitioner cited an audit report and claimed that the occupants owe nearly Rs. 18 Crore to the government as rent for their unauthorised stay which remains to be recovered.
The HC has given a time of four weeks to the government to respond.