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Padma Vibhushan awardee Pt Birju Maharaj asked to vacate govt accommodation, Delhi HC stays Centre's notice

By Sushil Batra | Updated: Dec 31, 2020 10:54 IST

New Delhi [India], December 31 (ANI): The Delhi High Court has stayed the notice issued by Centre to renowned Kathak artist, Birju Maharaj, asking him to vacate the government premises allotted to him by December 31, 2020.
The bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru on Wednesday stayed the notice issued by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs directing renowned/eminent artist to vacate the government allotted accommodation, till the next date of hearing. Court also sought response of respondents in the matter and slated the matter for January 22, 2021.
According to the petitioner, Birju Maharaj, he was allotted a government accommodation on account of his accomplishments. By virtue of the impugned notices, he has been communicated that the said allotment stands cancelled and he has been asked to vacate the premises by 31.12.2020.
Senior Advocate Akhil Sibal, appeared for the Birju Maharaj submitted that similar notices were issued to other artists who were allotted government accommodations and several have already approached this court and got stays on those notices issued to them.
Recently three aggrieved artists Bharati Shivaji, V.Jayarama Rao and Banarasi Rao had approached the Delhi HC challenging notice to vacate the accommodation allowed to them. They stated that the accommodation granted to them on account of them devoting their life for the sake of their extraordinary contribution in the field of their respective arts which they are still on the process of promoting despite earning very little income.
The eminent artists also sought a direction to respondents to formulate or frame a policy or guidelines for permitting the eminent artists to continue to retain their accommodation till their lifetime upon payment of a periodic nominal license fee.
According to the petition, these artists are all senior citizens who do not have any alternate accommodation to stay in Delhi except for the accommodation provided by the Government. The Petitioners, unlike other professionals, do not make substantial sums of money and in fact, the monies that they earn are only paltry in nature which is also reinvested in their artistic works pertinently, the petitioners are required to reside in Delhi since their institutions are situated in Delhi.
Moreover, Delhi being the capital of the country provides an apt platform for cultural exchanges and showcasing their artistic works on occasions which are of national importance. The petitioners are brand ambassadors of art and culture of the country. They are prized possessions and must be nurtured and taken care of. The traditional art and culture can be inculcated into the next generation only through an apprenticeship with such eminent artists instead of evicting them and leaving them homeless, the plea said. (ANI)