On Tuesday, the House Committee of the Lok Sabha decided to rope in the Delhi Police to evict 27 ex-Members of Parliament (MPs) from their official accommodations in Lutyens Delhi. These former members of the Lower House of Parliament continue to overstay in government bungalows and flats despite repeated notices from authorities to move out.
The 12-member committee. headed by BJP member from Navsari (Gujarat) CR Patil, decided to disconnect the water, power and gas connections to their houses.
Eviction of MPs: The law
In mid-September the amended Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 2019 was notified by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The amended Act was passed by Parliament in the monsoon session on August 6. The original act is effective since 1971 and was passed to provide eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises and in some incidental cases.
Previously, the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Bill, 2017 was introduced and pending for consideration in the Lok Sabha before it lapsed when the 16th Lok Sabha dissolved.
How an MP is evicted
Employees of the Government of India, including MPs and dignitaries, are provided residential accommodation while they are in service or till the end of their office term on the basis of a license (given for a fixed tenure or till the end of their term). After this license is expired, they are no longer eligible to occupy the accommodation and are required to vacate it.
According to the Act, a “residential accommodation” is a public premises occupied by a person after a license has been granted to them. According to PRS Legislative, to evict a person from a residential accommodation, an estate officer who is an employee of the central government first issues a written notice to the concerned individual, after which he/she has to showcause of why an eviction notice should not be issued against them within three working days.
After considering the showcause notice, the estate officer will issue an order of eviction. In case the occupant refuses to comply, the estate officer can use all means necessary to evict the occupant.
While under the 1971 Act, the provisions for eviction were laid out as well, the occupants would often challenge the eviction order passed by the estate officer.
Now, with the amendments, the occupant will have to pay for damages for every month that he continues to occupy the accommodation for.
“These amendments would facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from residential accommodations, and ensure retrieval of the residential accommodation from the unauthorised occupants without requiring elaborate procedures...” the Act states.