Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Supreme Court curbs on states’ land largesse to politicians, bureaucrats

State governments may not be able to allot residential plots in cities to serving and former MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats, journalists and judges of their choice by exercising their discretionary power as the Supreme Court on Wednesday decided to frame guidelines for allotting public land at subsidised rates.

Expressing concern over state governments' decision to allocate plots to well off people while lakhs of poor people do not have a shelter and are forced to live under the open sky, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer said all state government schemes on land allocation would be brought under judicial scrutiny to curb the largesse.

"We must have a more transparent system for allocating plots. Poor people cannot afford to have a house in cities and they are not able to get the most basic requirement of life but lands are being allotted to others. It has become a discretion at the hands of the government in allocation of land and we all know what discretion leads to. Proper guidelines are required and we will examine the issue," the bench said.

Attorney general K K Venugopal also agreed with the view of the bench and said that states had been using its power to allot plots arbitrarily without following due procedure. He pleaded the SC to intervene and frame guidelines.

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