The Delhi High Court on 5th February, 2020, has directed the Department Directorate of Estates to give immediate intimation to all the occupants of government accommodation who are occupying the premises over decades even after their period of service to vacate immediately. As per the affidavit filed by the secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs, there are 576 illegal occupants occupying the government accommodation beyond their tenures.
Anti-Corruption council of India has filed a writ petition before the Delhi Court regarding the illegal occupants of government accommodation beyond their period of service. Such persons include government employees, government officials and former members of the parliament who are occupying the premises more than a decade and in some cases more than two decades. The counsel for the petitioner contended that several government bungalows are occupied by ex-MLAs, ex-MPs and other government officials and also by persons who are not legally entitled occupy the premises. Whereas Ministers, MPs, MLAs and chairman of tribunals who currently in service are unable to avail the accommodation facilities and are waiting in queue to avail the same. The officials who are currently in service are staying in hotels at the expense of government of India that are paid out of public exchequer which is nothing but public money.
The writ petition prayed for directing the Department Directorate of Estate to produce the list of occupants who are occupying the government accommodation over and above their tenure along with their period of overstay and the details regarding the amount spent on such accommodation on monthly basis.The writ petition was duly admitted and was listed before the division bench of Delhi High Court comprising Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Harishankar.
On 14th November, 2019, the bench passed a detailed order directing the respondents to file an affidavit along with the list of persons overstaying in the government accommodation and the amount to be recovered due to the expenditure incurred by the Union of India owing to their overstay on 5th February, 2020. On the said date Mr.Durga Shankar Mishra filed an affidavit before the division bench along with the list of occupants and the amount recoverable in two annexures.
1. After perusing the annexures filed, the court observed that the government accommodations are being occupied illegally over a decade and in some cases over two decades and over hundred lakhs of amount are yet to be recovered thereby causing huge loss to the Union of India.
2. The court sensitized when the officer appearing on behalf of Union of India sought time to give reply to the court’s query that if any notice for recovery has been tendered to these occupants and stated that officers representing the government must be aware of the full facts.
3. The court observed that such lethargic attitude of the officers prima facie shows the connivance from the Ministry of Housing and urban affairs for such over stay by the ex- government officials which amounts to conspiracy, a punishable crime under Indian Penal Code.
4. The court remarked that the oldest occupant as per the annexure is from the year 1998 and as such reflects the ineffective working of the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs in rendering its duties.
The bench ordered the Department Directorate of Estate to issue notice to all the occupants calling them to vacate the premises along with their belongings on or before 19th February, 2020. Failing which the Directorate along with the Ministry of Housing and urban affairs through its secretary to take steps to vacate the illegal occupants with one week after 19th February, 2020. The court has adjourned the hearing to 27th February, 2020 to report compliance of the above said order.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
1. Writ Petition No. 11644 of 2019, Delhi High Court, Order dated 14th November, 2019
2. Writ Petition No. 11644 of 2019, Delhi High Court, Order dated 5th February, 2020
3. Bar and Bench, Delhi HC directs removal of former Government employees, ex MPs from illegally occupied Government accommodation, https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/delhi-hc-directs-removal-of-former-government-employees-ex-mps-from-illegally-occupied-government-accommodation (last visited on 9th February,2020)