Guidelines suggested to address/State govts. in regard to unauthorized occupants: SC

The Supreme Court of India suggested the below guidelines to address the grievances of the Centre and the State governments in regard to the unauthorized occupants: –
(i) As a precautionary measure, a notice should be sent to the allottee/officer/employee concerned under Section 4 of the Public Premises Act (“Act”) three months prior to the date of his/her retirement giving advance intimation to vacate the premises.
(ii) The Department concerned from where the government servant is going to retire must be made liable for fulfilling the above-mentioned formalities as well as follow up actions so that rest of the provisions of the Act can be effectively utilized.
(iii) The principles of natural justice have to be followed while serving the notice.
(iv) After following the procedure as mentioned in SR 317-B-11(2) and 317-B-22 proviso 1 and 2, within 7 working days, send a show cause notice to the person concerned in view of the advance intimation sent three months before the retirement.
(v) Date of appearance before the Estate Officer or for personal hearing as mentioned in the Act after show cause notice should not be more than 7 working days.
(vi) Order of eviction should be passed as expeditiously as possible preferably within a period of 15 days.
(vii) If, as per the Estate Officer, the occupant’s case is genuine in terms of Section 5 of the Act then, in the first instance, an extension of not more than 30 days should be granted.
(viii) The responsibility for issuance of the genuineness certificate should be on the Department concerned from where the government servant has retired for the occupation of the premises for next 15 days and further. Giving additional responsibility to the department concerned will help in speedy vacation of such premises. Baseless or frivolous applications for extensions have to be rejected within seven days.
(ix) If as per the Estate Officer the occupant’s case is not genuine, not more than 15 days’ time should be granted and thereafter, reasonable force as per Section 5(2) of the Act may be used.
(x) There must be a time frame within how much time the Estate Officer has to decide about the quantum of rent to be paid.
(xi) The same procedure must be followed for damages.
(xii) The arrears/damages should be collected as arrears of land revenue as mentioned in Section 14 of the Act.
(xiii) There must be a provision for compound interest, instead of simple interest as per Section 7.
(xiv) To make it more stringent, there must be some provision for stoppage or reduction in the monthly pension till the date of vacation of the premises.
(xv) Under Section 9 (2), an appeal shall lie from an order of eviction and of rent/damages within 12 days from the day of publication or on which the order is communicated respectively.
(xvi) Under Section 9(4), disposal of the appeals must be preferably within a period of 30 days in order to eliminate unnecessary delay in disposal of such cases.
(xvii) The liberty of the appellate officer to condone the delay in filing the appeal under Section 9 of the Act should be exercised very reluctantly and it should be an exceptional practice and not a general rule.
(xviii) Since allotment of government accommodation is a privilege given to the Ministers and Members of Parliament, the matter of unauthorized retention should be intimated to the Speaker/Chairman of the House and action should be initiated by the House Committee for the breach of the privileges which a Member/Minister enjoys and the appropriate Committee should recommend to the Speaker/Chairman for taking appropriate action/eviction within a time bound period.
(xix) Judges of any forum shall vacate the official residence within a period of one month from the date of  superannuation/retirement. However, after recording sufficient reason(s), the time may be extended by another one month.
(xx) Henceforth, no memorials should be allowed in future in any Government houses earmarked for residential accommodation.

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