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Friday, November 25, 2011

Squatters in govt quarters are on rise, say advocates

CHENNAI: Civil courts in the city are increasingly seeing cases of central government staff refusing to vacate residential quarters after retirement, advocates say. These employees, apart from draining revenue of the respective departments, file cases in court to be able to stay on longer, advocates add.
"There are a lot of such cases pending. Despite being aware of the rules, central government employees are reluctant to leave their accommodation primarily because they have to pay a very low amount to retain the house. However, when they stay on beyond the allotted period, those who are eligible, currently in service and waiting in line for their accommodation, are not able to get it," said advocate P Ravishankar, additional standing government counsel who represents the Centre in all city civil courts.
The Directorate of Estates (DoE), under the Union ministry of urban development, is in charge of the accommodation for most central government employees. In the Chennai metropolitan area, the DoE has residential blocks in Besant Nagar, K K Nagar and Tirumangalam.
Currently, Ravishankar is involved with the case of a government employee who joined service in 1977 and retired on May 31, 2010 but is yet to vacate his quarters. The matter, which came up for hearing in the principal sessions court, was transferred to the fifth additional city civil court and adjourned to December 7.
While submitting the application, the employee gave a declaration promising to abide by the Allotment of Government Residences (General Pool in Delhi) Rules, 1963. Under the Allotment Rules, the maximum period of retention after retirement of a government servant, including on educational or medical grounds, is eight months.
After the extension expired on February 1, 2011, eviction proceedings were initiated and a show-cause notice issued on February 14 under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. After he deposed before the Estate Officer (official appointed under the Act to issue show-cause notice for unauthorized occupation) on March 29, he was given 15 days to vacate the premises but he did not comply.
A notice of physical eviction was issued against him on June 30. The former government employee then appealed against the eviction notice in the principal sessions court. Pointing out that the appeal was "not maintainable either on law or the facts," the Estate Officer, in his counter-affidavit, said, it was "nothing but a sheer abuse of process of law". It was filed only to protract the appellant's unauthorized occupation and to scuttle the eviction proceedings, he added.
Source : The Times of India, November 25, 2011

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