Rajya Sabha passes bill for eviction of officials from government premises

RSTV Bureau
Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in Rajya Sabha (RSTV Grab)

Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in Rajya Sabha (RSTV Grab)

Rajya Sabha passed the Bill for speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants of government residential accommodations.

Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on July 31.

Moving the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said: “Many of our colleagues both in Parliament as well as in government service somehow do not vacate the accommodation allotted to them. This naturally creates a strain on government accommodation.”

He said such persons in unauthorised occupation do not seem to fully factor into account that it is unfair to those who are rightfully entitled and are forced to wait.

“There is a demand in general pool residential accommodation in Delhi of 80,437 units. The availability is only 61,011 units. In other words, we have a shortage of 19,426 units,” Puri said.

He said if one takes into account “those of our colleagues who are in unauthorised occupation, i.e. those allottees who have overstayed their authorised stay in those homes, this figure comes to 3,005″.

“Out of these, 2,397 cases have been referred to the estate officer. Six of these are of honourable members of Parliament who have ceased to be members. Had these unauthorised occupants vacated in time, the current shortage could have been reduced by 16 per cent,” Puri said.

The Centre has to evict unauthorised occupants from government accommodations under the provisions of the PPE Act, 1971. However, the eviction proceedings take an unusually long time, thereby reducing the availability of government accommodations to new incumbents.

As per the bill, the estate officer will not be required to follow elaborate proceedings like serving notice, show cause, inquiry, rather he or she can initiate summary eviction proceedings.

The proposed amendments would enable the estate officer to apply summary proceedings for evicting unauthorised occupants from residential accommodations and to levy damage charges for accommodation held during the period of litigation.

Cutting across party lines, the majority of Rajya Sabha members supported the bill.

However, some members expressed apprehensions about the misuse of provisions.

Participating in the debate, Ripun Bora of the Congress said this Bill is the need of the hour and he fully supports it.

However, he requested the minister to address the problems highlighted by him earlier.

Amar Patnaik (BJD) said the “force of law has to be applied.”

Ram Nath Thakur (JDU) also supported the bill and asked the minister to inform about the number of illegal occupants on government properties.

Besides he also suggested that the government must do an assessment of its land and their illegal possession.

P Wilson (DMK) said that he was not opposing the bill but at least 15 days should be given for vacating the residential houses allotted to government officials.

Anil Desai (SS) also supported the bill, and said, “There is an apprehension of misuse of the power being given under the bill by estate officer.”

BP Baishya (AGM) also supported the Bill and asked the government to come out with a mechanism for speedy allotment of accommodation to Member of Parliaments.

Madhusudan Mistry suggested that Members of Parliament should be giving House Rent Allowance of Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 per month instead of allotting houses.

He said that the condition of the House is not good and on an average, an MP gets 110 square metres of space.

A Navaneethakrishnan (AIADMK), Binoy Viswam (CPI), Manish Gupta (TMC) and V P Nishad and K Somaprasad (CPM) also participated in the debate.

(With inputs from agencies)