For the average person who does not own a house in the country's capital, finding one to rent at an affordable price is one of the biggest challenges of life. But, almost since independence, such an act has been of little concern to those such as ministers, Member of Parliaments, senior bureaucrats among others who occupy government accommodation.
And while following the termination of the rent agreement, it would be unheard for a common man, to overstay, this has not been true for those belonging to the corridors of power.
Though this has been true till recently, it might not be anymore as the cabinet on Wednesday approved the time period for completing the eviction process to three days, bringing it down from the previous 60.
Another change that the government has brought in is related to the level of the court that those who do not wish to vacate can get a stay order from. While earlier any such tenant could approach a lower court and get relief from eviction now the power resides with only the high courts and above.
Earlier in November the urban development ministry had moved such proposals for seeking Cabinet approval and had also raised the penalty for overstaying in government accommodation to a level equivalent to market rent.
According to reports, nearly 7,000 to 8,000 government houses get vacated in Delhi and in about 20 to 25 per cent cases the allottees refuse to leave. With many approaching the lower courts to get a stay on eviction notices, and the lengthy process that follows ends up costing the exchequer in terms of pursuing court cases and also in terms of the increase in the waiting time for those who become entitled to get such accommodations.
As per reports, around 70 officials are currently overstaying for a period of more than two years after getting stay orders by approaching different courts.
Cabinet has approved amendments in Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act by inserting a definition of "residential accommodation occupation," as per an official release.
It reportedly said, "The Amendment will enable the estate officer to apply summary proceedings for evicting unauthorised occupants from residential accommodations allotted for a fixed tenure or for a period he/she holds office on the basis of an order of allotment on licence basis, as non-vacation of such residences leads to unavailability of houses to new incumbents."