SP government spent Rs 29.50 lakh to stonewall plea: RTI

The Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh spent Rs 29.50 lakh to stonewall a plea in the Supreme Court that challenged the practice of officers in the Chief Minister’s Office signing files on behalf of the Chief Minister, an RTI reply revealed on Friday.

In 2013, activist Nutan Thakur had filed a public interest litigation in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, saying that the system of officers signing in the name of the Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh is illegal and has scope for massive misuse.

The High Court referred the matter to a larger bench, which was challenged by the state government before the Supreme Court in 2014. The case is still going on.

In reply to the Right to Information application, Law Department Public Information Officer Rajesh Singh said that senior lawyer Rajeev Dhavan was engaged by the state government at Rs 3.5 lakh per hearing. So far Rs 28 lakh have been spent on Dhavan, while Rs 1.5 lakh have been spent on other lawyers.

The petitioner said this is misuse of public exchequer that such a huge money has been spent merely for the Chief Minister’s personal convenience and cushioning and to decide which files shall be signed personally by him.

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