Supreme Court: Right to Shelter does not imply right to government accommodation

Case- Union of India v. Onkar Nath Dhar

The respondent is a retired employee of the Intelligence Bureau. The High Court of Punjab and Haryana allowed him to retain his government accommodation at a nominal fee, temporarily as he was not able to return to his native place in J&K.

The Central Government was aggrieved by this order and filed an appeal in the Supreme Court

A Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice AS Bopanna heard the appeal.

The Bench stated that ‘Right to Shelter’ under Article 21 of the Constitution, does not imply the right to government accommodation after retirement. Therefore, retired officials cannot claim this a right.

The Bench also stated that though the decision given by the High Court was out of compassion, a retired official cannot be granted government accommodation.

The Bench held that the orders given by the High Court were arbitrary and irrational.

The Bench granted the respondent time till 31 October 2021, to hand over vacant physical possession of the premises.

The Bench also directed the Centre to submit a report regarding action taken against retired government officials who are in possession of government accommodation, through High Court orders.

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