The Delhi High Court said on Friday that due to the "indifferent approach" of the Centre with regard to getting the illegally occupied government accommodations vacated, huge amount of money has been lost by it.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the Centre was seeking modification of the February 5 order imposing a penalty of Rs 10,000 deduction in salary of its Secretary, Ministry of Housing, even as it was losing huge amounts as rental dues due to the illegal occupation of its accommodations.
"By Rs 10,000 nothing is going to be gained by the Union of India which has lost huge amounts," the court remarked and added that "to awake senses of your officers and department, this (February 5) order was a must".
In its February 5 order, the high court had rebuked the Housing Ministry for permitting many government accommodation units to be illegally occupied by retired officials and ex-MPs and had directed the Centre to get them vacated within two weeks and to initiate proceedings to recover dues from such occupants.
The court had also ordered that Rs 10,000 be deducted from salary of the Secretary, Housing Ministry, and one day's salary be deducted from the officer who was present in court that day as he was not prepared with the facts to answer the queries posed by the bench.
The Centre, thereafter, moved an application seeking modification of the February 5 order to the extent that the officials' pay be not deducted.
While allowing the Centre's application, the court on Friday further said if the recovery of dues was with regard to the personal accommodation of these officers, they would take leave from work and move "heaven and earth" to recover the money.
'But here there is an indifferent approach. Tell your officers that they should be faithful to the institution from where they are taking salary," the bench said.
It directed the ministry to file an affidavit within six weeks "showing proper recovery of amounts and getting vacated the illegally occupied residential accommodation and houses".
The Centre's application was filed in a PIL by a trust which has claimed that several official residences for MPs, MLAs and bureaucrats were being allegedly illegally occupied by those who were no longer holding the offices.