Mahua Moitra, a leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) who was recently ousted from the Lok Sabha, filed a case in the Delhi High Court on Monday (18 December). She is contesting the revocation of her government housing and the directive that requires her to leave the residence by 7 January 2024.
The appeal, expected to be scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, requests the revocation of the Directorate of Estates' order from 11 December, or alternatively, for Moitra to be permitted to maintain possession of the premises until the announcement of the 2024 Lok Sabha election results.
On 8 December 2023, Moitra was found to be culpable for "unethical conduct" and consequently expelled from the Lok Sabha. The allegations against her included accepting presents from businessman Darshan Hiranandani and providing him with her user ID and password for the Parliament website.
Her expulsion has already been contested in the Supreme Court, following the Lok Sabha's adoption of the ethics committee's report, which recommended her removal. The hearing for the case is scheduled for 3 January 2024.
According to The New Indian Express, in her appeal to the high court, she stated that the order from the Directorate of Estates was given in response to her removal from the Lok Sabha.
The Supreme Court is set to hear the plea of TMC leader Mahua Moitra, who is challenging her expulsion from the Lok Sabha.
Moitra's petition stated, "The contested order is precipitous since the legitimacy of the petitioner's expulsion is still awaiting judgment from the Supreme Court of India."
Under the conditions where the petitioner's status as an 'unauthorised occupant' is being evaluated by the supreme constitutional court of the nation, the respondent no.1 (Directorate of Estates), acting as an enforcement authority, is not permitted to begin proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act 1971 to evict the petitioner.
"The issue of the estate office's/respondent no.1's jurisdiction only comes into play once the petitioner's assertion of rightful occupation of the government accommodation has been properly adjudicated," stated the plea.
Moitra revealed that she first won her seat in the Lok Sabha from the Krishnanagar constituency in West Bengal during the 2019 general elections. She also mentioned that her party has selected her to be their candidate from the same constituency in the upcoming 2024 LS elections.
Despite her removal from the Lok Sabha, she is not disqualified from participating in elections. Therefore, she will run again, needing to devote her time and effort towards her constituents, as stated.
"However, instability in housing could greatly hinder the petitioner's capacity to accommodate and interact with party members, lawmakers, political peers, visiting voters, important stakeholders, and other dignitaries. This is particularly crucial in the run-up to a general election," stated the plea.
She expressed that she resides solo in Delhi with no other housing options available to her. If she is expelled from her government-provided dwelling, she would be burdened with the dual responsibility of campaigning and searching for a new home.
This will impose a heavy load on the petitioner.
Alternatively, the petitioner pleads for permission to remain living in her present home until the outcome of the 2024 General Elections is determined.
Should the petitioner be granted permission, she is fully prepared to cover any costs associated with the prolonged duration of her stay, as stated in the petition.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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