The Supreme Court on Monday issued a show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh government for using public money for installing statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and asked it to file its reply within four weeks. "Notice (has been issued) to the state to show-cause why the petition should not be admitted," a bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and A K Ganguli said.
The petitioner Ravi Kant, a Supreme Court advocate, alleged that the state government used a whopping Rs 2,000 crore from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10 for such projects to 'falsely glorify' the chief minister. The court passed the order on a PIL, seeking its direction to restrain Mayawati from installing her statues and party symbol at public places at the cost of public fund, and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the misuse of state exchequer.
The court, after hearing the petitioner's contentions, granted four weeks to the state government to file its reply. The BSP supremo, who has been at the centre of controversy for the project, had unveiled 15 statues, which included her own and that of party founder Kanshi Ram, on June 25, nine days ahead of schedule.
This was seen as an attempt to prempt the apex court from putting on hold all such projects and a bid to upstage Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who planned to stage protests on July 3, the day Mayawati was slated to unveil the statues.
The petitioner, who has made Mayawati, along with her party and chief secretary of the state, as respondents, said the state government should be directed to remove the statues of the chief minister and her party symbol from public land.
"Every action taken by the government must be in public interest. The government cannot act arbitrarily and without reason and if it does, its action would be liable to be invalidated," the petitioner said.
Giving details of the ongoing projects of installing the statutes in the state, the petitioner charged "the expenditure of several crores of public money to fulfill the whims and fancies of an individual is against the principles of natural justice and fails the test of reasonableness."
"The said activity is being carried out as a state policy, which is arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. Sixty statues of elephant were installed at a cost of Rs 52.20 crore at public places by utilising state funds," the petition alleged.