The Delhi High Court on Monday adjourned a plea filed by Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj, assailing orders cancelling the allotment of the government accommodation accorded to him.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli pulled up Birju Maharaj’s advocate for delaying the matter after receiving interim protection by the court. Advocate Vedant Verma, appearing for Birju Maharaj, sought further time to file rejoinder affidavit.
The Central Government Standing Counsel, Rajesh Gogna, submitted that the allotment made to Pt. Birju Maharaj was for the period of 3 years, but he has occupied the said accommodation for a period of more than 30 years. He added there are other artists also to whom the government wants to support.
On December 30, 2020, the Court had stayed the notice dated October 9, 2020, whereby Birju Maharaj had been asked to vacate the premises. In October 2020, in the middle of Covid crisis, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs sent notices to 27 eminent personalities, including dancers, musicians and other artists, to vacate flats allotted to them by the government in Lutyens’ and South Delhi by December 31, 2020.
The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, on the recommendation of the culture ministry, allots houses to eminent artists for a period of 3 years. The guidelines for the allotment state that the allottee must be between 40 and 60 years of age and should earn less than Rs 20,000 a month.