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Delhi HC softens Single Bench verdict in Ambika Soni & Kumari Selja eviction

Smrithi Suresh

The Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside the costs imposed on Congress MPs Ambika Soni & Kumari Selja by a Single Bench.

The Division Bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Rajiv Shakhder also proceeded to ‘expunge’ certain observations made by Justice RS Endlaw when he had dismissed the appeal. Justice Endlaw had held in his verdict that the petitioners were trying to give political overtones to the matter when none existed.

Commenting on the timing of allotment of houses that were made just prior to the General Elections of 2014, the Bench held:

“The question, therefore is: was the learned Single Judge, right, in effect, observing that the allotments ought to have awaited the conclusion of the general elections, which were held between 07.04.2014 and 12.05.2014.

We are of the view that as a matter of propriety, the appellants ought to have held their hands till the declaration of the results.”

Recently, eviction orders had been issued by the Ministry of Urban Development to Congress politicians and Rajya Sabha MPs Ambika Soni and Kumari Selja to vacate their premises as they had ceased to be Union Ministers.

The Division Bench while passing its order, also added that comments of the Single Bench while deciding on other concurrent issues, were ‘not necessary’ and a decision could have been reached, without taking ‘recourse to such observations.’

“The Supreme Court has advised courts to exercise sobriety and to, refrain from usage of harsh words and intemperate language. Judges have been called upon to exercise self restraint as that is an intrinsic part of their judicial training and discipline.”

Justice Endlaw had come down hard on Soni and Selja when he had stated in his order that ‘it did not behove the appellants who, are representatives of the people to contend that they were not bound by the norms, rules and regulations, framed by them.’

During the hearing, both the politicians had expressed their readiness to move into Type VII bungalows which was their entitlement. The Bench took into account their submissions made by Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, and directed for the Union to take steps to accommodate Selja in a Type VII bungalow at Safdarjung Lane and accomodate Soni at Lodhi Estate in a similar accomodation.