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Azadi for Lutyens’ Delhi from Bungalow Squatters

Illegal occupants government bungalows

Haven’t you heard a lot about people illegally occupying government properties? Haven’t you come across a government employee extending his stay in government accommodation beyond the prescribed time limit? In India, this is a common phenomenon and we come across many people complaining about the lethargy and laxity of government towards such unauthorized occupants.

Did you know that government already had a law Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 in place? But as it is said, the law serves the good when it is implemented effectively.

To correct this and take back the public premises from illegal occupants, the union government has got Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 passed through the Parliament. The amendments to the existing act will facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from Government residences. This will increase the availability of vacant residences for allotment to eligible persons on their turn in the waiting list, thereby decreasing the waiting time.

What are the amendments?

Residential Accommodation Occupation

The bill defines the ‘Residential Accommodation Occupation’ as occupation by any person on grant of licence to him to occupy such premises on the basis of an order of allotment for a fixed tenure or for a period he holds office, in accordance with the rules and instructions issued in this regard, made under the authority of the Central Government, a State Government, a Union territory Administration or a statutory authority, as the case may be.

Eviction from Residential Accommodation

Step 1 – If the estate officer has information that any person, who was granted residential accommodation occupation, is in its unauthorised occupation. Then,

Step 2 – The estate officer can issue a notice to such person to show cause within a period of three working days why an order of eviction should not be made. This notice should be served by having it affixed on some conspicuous part (like an outer door of the house) of the said residential accommodation.

Step 3 – If the person in unauthorised occupation refuses or fails to comply with the order of eviction, the estate officer may evict such person from the residential accommodation by using the necessary force.

Damages of the Residential Occupation

If the unauthorised occupant resort to delaying tactics by challenging the eviction order in the court of law? Then, he shall pay damages for every month for the residential accommodation held by him.

Empowering amendments

An important part of this bill is the proposed applicability of summary proceedings to unauthorised occupants. Under the summary proceedings, the estate officer does not have to follow elaborate procedure prescribed, for serving notice, show cause, inquiry and hearing as per the sections of the act, before passing eviction order. This will help in speedy action against people who take laws for granted.

Narendra Modi government has been very effective in getting a record number of government houses evicted from illegal occupants. The amended law will further empower the government to take actions against people who are not complying with the existing law.