The Delhi High Court has provided relief to the AAP MP Raghav Chadha by allowing his plea against his eviction from the government bungalow. It said that Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) has no application in the suit filed by the appellant.

An appeal was filed by Chadha under Order XLIII Rule 1(a) and (w) of the CPC against the order passed by the Additional District Judge, Patiala House Courts, New Delhi. The said Judge had earlier said that Chadha cannot claim that he has an absolute right to continue to occupy the government bungalow during his entire tenure as a Member of the Rajya Sabha even after the cancellation of allotment.

A Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani observed, “… it cannot be said that the word ‘Government’ appearing in section 80 CPC would include the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. Accordingly, in the opinion of this court, section 80 CPC has no application to the suit filed by the appellant, in which the sole defendant is the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, against which relief has been sought-for in the suit. … By reason of the foregoing discussion, it is not necessary for this court to decide whether, in the circumstances of the case, the appellant has been successful in establishing the need for urgent or immediate relief as required in section 80(2) CPC.”

The Bench said that the Trial Court was in error in returning the plaint for non-compliance with the provisions of Section 80 CPC.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of the appellant (Raghav Chadha) while Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee appeared for the respondent.

In this case, the Trial Court had recalled the order made by it, thereby vacating an ad-interim order granted in favour of the appellant and also thereby returning the plaint for presentation after compliance of Section 80(1) CPC. Impugned order was passed on a review application filed by the respondent under Order XLVII Rule 1 CPC, seeking review of order by which the Trial Court had, on an application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 & 2 CPC, granted to the appellant ad-interim protection against being dispossessed from Bungalow No. AB-5, Pandara Road, New Delhi, without due process of law. By an order, the Trial Court had also issued notice to the respondent on an application filed by the appellant under Section 80(2) of the CPC.

The appellant was allotted the aforesaid bungalow as official accommodation in his capacity as a Member of the Rajya Sabha. The allotment was made vide letter by the Rajya Sabha, upon a representation made by the appellant, citing certain reasons for seeking upgradation of his allotted accommodation from Type-VI to Type-VII. The appellant took physical possession of the subject bungalow and was residing there along with his senior-citizen parents and his sister ever since. The genesis of the dispute is a letter received by the appellant from the Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, effectively cancelling the allotment of the subject bungalow; and instead allotting to the appellant a Flat as his regular accommodation.

The High Court in view of the above facts noted, “… this court is of the opinion, that the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, being the permanent administrative office of the Rajya Sabha, which is one of the Houses of Parliament, is a separate and distinct institution from the Government, which (latter) is the Executive wing of the State.”

The Court held that there was no requirement for the appellant to file the application under Section 80 CPC, or to comply with that provision; and therefore, it disposed of the application under section 80 CPC as infructuous. It further directed the appellant to re-present the plaint before the Trial Court within 3 days of pronouncement of the judgment.

“… with a direction to the learned Trial Court to proceed with the matter by first deciding the application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 & 2 CPC, which stands restored before it; and thereafter to proceed with the suit, in accordance with law. … In the meantime, order dated 18.04.2023 shall stand revived till the application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 & 2 CPC is decided by the learned Trial Court”, the Court added.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the appeal.

Cause Title- Raghav Chadha v. Rajya Sabha Secretariat (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:7616)

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