Rajya Sabha approves Public Premises Amendment Bill,2014

By Accommodation Times News Services

Delhi Metro, Other Metros, Public Transport Companies, Delhi Government Companies to be empowered for speedy eviction of their premises 

Rajya SabhaRajya Sabha today passed the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2014 that seeks to empower Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, other Metros, Public Transport Companies, Companies of Delhi Government, New Delhi Municipal Council and successors to Major Port Trusts to get their properties and premises evicted of unauthorized companies in a speedy manner. This Amendment Bill, already approved by the Lok Sabha during the last monsoon session of Parliament, brings these entities with Centre and States owning more than 51 % of their Paid Up capital under the definition of public premises for their eviction in a speedy manner.

Piloting the Bill, Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu said that Recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development and suggestions of the Supreme Court have been incorporated in the Amendment Bill to enable quick execution of infrastructure projects. He said that stricter time frames for completing eviction proceedings were incorporated in the Bill to prevent misuse of procedures. Responding to the demand of some members for referring the Bill to a Select Committee, Shri Naidu said that the Parliamentary standing Committee had already examined the Bill. He assured the House that adequate safeguards have been put in place to prevent any misuse of the provisions of the Bill.

The Supreme Court in their Judgment of 5.7.2013 in the matter of S.D.Bandi Vs Divisional Traffic Officer, Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation observed that “The persons from all the three branches viz., the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive either by their influence or by lengthy procedure as provided in the Act, continue to stay in the government accommodation by paying paltry amount either by way of rent or penalty’’.

The Supreme Court made several suggestions for ensuring timely eviction of such occupants. These suggestions include: specific time frames for serving notices for vacation, disposal of appeals, fixing the quantum of rent to be charged and subsequent eviction, charging compound interest rate, condoning delays in vacation only in exceptional cases and not as a general rule etc. These suggestions have been incorporated in relevant sections of the Amendment Bill.

The four recommendations of the Standing Committee viz., Provision for a Summary Trial, disposal of appeals by the District and Sessions Judge, substituting Municipal Corporation of Delhi in the Act with the newly created Corporations and maximum time limit for disposal of the cases by the Estate Officers have also been incorporated in the Amendment Bill, 2014 passed by the Rajya Sabha.

On the Amendment Bill, 2014 becoming an Act after the assent by the President of India, all the entities mentioned above and brought under the definition of Public Premises for the purpose of eviction of unauthorized occupants, can appoint Estate Officers who would function as quasi-judicial authorities for the purposes of the Act.

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