Mayawati, the BSP Chief has justified constructing statues of herself and the party symbol, the elephant, in public places and told the Supreme Court that they represent “will of the people”.
In an earlier hearing, the Supreme Court , in oral observations, had said Mayawati should reimburse the public money spent on erecting statues of herself and the party symbol, the elephant, in public places.
The SC was hearing advocate Ravi Kant’s PIL alleging misuse of crores of rupees of public money spent for installing the statues, including in a park in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.
“Madam Mayawati, reimburse to the exchequer the public money you have spent on the elephants,” a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said.
“We are of tentative view that you (Mayawati) should pay the public money from your pocket,” CJI said.
The remarks were oral observations directed at senior advocate Rakesh Khanna, who was representing the Bahujan Samaj Party chief in a 10-year-old public interest litigation (PIL) that alleged misuse of public money for installing the statues.
The PIL was filed in 2009, which sought a restraint order against the installations, which Kant said was being done at the cost of the state exchequer. He asked for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe and also a directive to remove the statues.
Public money was spent to “falsely glorify” the then chief minister, Kant’s PIL alleged. Not only was it against the state policy, it even violated the Constitution, he said. The statues were installed at a cost of Rs 52.20 crore at public places.