Privileges given to former J&K chief ministers withdrawn
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Yusuf Jameel
Srinagar: The government on Wednesday withdrew various privileges and perks including rent-free accommodation to former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir by repealing the relevant legal provision.
Jammu and Kashmir has four former chief ministers including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Ghulam Nabi Azad who were availing these privileges or some of them. However, Ms. Mufti is in incarceration since August 5 last year.
Under Section 3-C of the State Legislature Members’ Pension Act, 1984, former chief ministers of the erstwhile state which included Ladakh which is now a separate Union Territory (UT) were entitled to rent-free furnished accommodation, expenditure to the limit of Rs 35,000 per annum for furnishing of the residential accommodation, free telephone calls up to the value of Rs 48,000 per annum, free electricity to the extent of Rs 1,500 per month, car, petrol, medical facilities, driver etc.
They could also avail the services of one personal assistant, one special assistant and two peons. "Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, a member who is entitled to a pension under this Act and who has served as Chief Minister of the State, shall be entitled to a car, petrol, medical facilities, driver, rent-free furnished accommodation, expenditure to the limit of Rs 35,000 per annum for furnishing of the residential accommodation, free telephone calls up to the value of Rs 48,000 per annum, free electricity to the extent of Rs 1500 per month etc," reads Section 3( C) of the law.
It has been through Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization (an adaptation of state laws) Order-2020.
The move comes months after J&K Law Commission had recommended repeal of the legal provisions providing facilities to former chief ministers, saying these provisions "violate the constitutional principles of equality" and are "arbitrary and not in consonance with any scheme or law."