July 31, 2019
Kalyan Banerjee speaks on The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019
Sir, I hope I will get some time. Through you Sir, I need to point out a few things. It appears from a reading of the Bill, prima facie reading of the Bill, the Bill is very innocuous. But it’s not so. With respect today I am disagreeing with the Leader of Congress Sri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on this subject. Sir, the cases are regarding the occupation. I was hearing Mr Chowdhury and my friend there as if the Bill is only restricted to the Member of Parliament, it is not. The Bill is also for all the public servants. <interruptions>
This Bill affects every one of the public servants, it is applicable. Suppose let’s say only for the residential purpose, Hon’ble Member of Parliament one month, six months for certain officers. But what is the guideline for all the officers? All employees? Now the main objection is going to the court. Is going to a court a curse? Is going to a court an offence? Is it not my right? If an illegal order has passed, I have a right to approach the court. Today you may be in power but may you may not be in power till doomsday, one day you will also come out. Therefore any person, let’s assume that a person has been dispensed from his duties illegally. He is going to court and getting a stay. Do you think the court is granting the stay blindly? Unless a court case is made out by someone, court will grant this stay? Court is not like the officers of the Central government or State Government, give a stamp and stamp and stamp. They apply their mind and after application of mind if they feel a strong prima facie case has been made then the stay is granted.
I am saying this is a draconian law. A draconian law has been made. In Clause IV, you are saying if you approach the court, then you have to pay the damages. Unbridled discretionary powers have been granted to the state officers. This power given under Clause IV is capable to be exercised arbitrarily. What is the guideline? How much damage? For six months, for nine months, one state officer will fix up one portion of damage, another one will fix up another damage.
What is the guideline about that? I do not have any difficulties if a person is unauthorizedly staying. I will give you an illustration about what we have done. Possibly not a single House committee has done what we have, I will take some of your time, I will tell you.
Arjun Ram Meghwal Ji abhi nahi hai, he was the Chairman at that time. Both of us know how many persons have been evicted. Sir, I tell you, unauthorised persons are staying in Delhi in accommodations because of the blessings of your officers not because of anything. Because of the blessings of your officers.
Sir, I tell you, when 16th Lok Sabha commenced, you know the Western Court earlier it was there. I was also a member in the House committee, Mrs. Lekhi was also there, she helped me a lot. Shri Meghwal was our Chairman at that point of time, we found that at least one hundred persons were staying in the Western Court for ten years, twelve years, fourteen years, fifteen years. And who are they? They are the businessmen of Delhi, taking the name of the guests entered, when we have asked the state officers, it is on record, when we have asked the state officers to appear before us, what was the answer you know? Answer was how can I evict. We have to apply the Public Premises Unauthorised Occupants Act, how can you.
Today on the basis of my request, Parliament has given someone three days to stay, guest accommodation. Now with the Public Premises Unauthorised Occupants Act, they are opposing. No, it cannot be done. Then Mrs. Lekhi, myself both were fighting against them and then Judicial Secretary was called. We wanted to know his advice. Then Judicial Secretary said no this Act doesn’t apply at all, they can be thrown out. Then we asked them to issue notice that within three days it has to be evicted, otherwise throw them out. This because of us, not because of anybody. Someone went to Court and we said if anyone wishes to go to the Court tell us both myself and Mrs. Lekhi will argue the case. Yes, ultimately all were evicted.
Now the new portion, the new Western Court. Now new Members of Parliament are staying there. See the development. This is not because of anyone. <conversation with speaker> When we are in a committee, when we are doing constructive things, irrespective of the party, we have to do it. That’s the lesson I have learnt.
We have done it, not your officers have done it, Sir. Your officers were obstructing us – that’s in the House Committee record. That’s the reason I am saying, here everyone is staying because of the blessings of your officers, not because of anybody. Your officers means State officers’ departments.
Sir, this Bill, suppose a case admission has happened, person has gone to the Court, he has not got the stay immediately. His staying after six months he has succeeded in the matter. Will you evict him or will you impose damage? Will that period be treated as unauthorised? It will not be treated as unauthorised.
Second thing, how much time are you giving it? You are talking about the statute itself. You have not given any time limit. You are referring some orders et cetera. It must be a statutory one. One must know. Suppose a case, a tenure appointment is made, term appointment is made, in a case where public servant for 3 years you are illegally terminating, he is going to court, then it will be unauthorized? How it can be unauthorized? So for going to the court, if this is the philosophy on your mind that Clause IV you have said so every person (interruption) challenging the eviction order first by the State officers, (interruption) Section 3B in any court, he shall pay damages. What are the damages? If I go to the court and get a stay order, is that how I stay? I am giving you a practical scene sir. Listen sir, you have said 15,416, right? Listen sir, I am giving one example, you know, you are a public gazette, you are appointing a state officer, right? A state officer is been empowered.
State officer. Now one, this is a public gazette, it has to be given. A case I had to fight it out, eviction order has been passed in the case of a Railway employee, Railway persons who have taken the railway lands, a state officer is evicted in, appellate authority has dismissed this case, ultimately it came to the High Court. I was going on searching for the state officer. Now one year has been given by the Calcutta High Court to the Rail to show the gazette who has been appointed as a State Officer. No State Officer has been appointed. Without appointing any State Officer in publishing in the gazette. Gazette is a compulsory condition precedent. State officer is doing. More you see, work of your state officer it will be more beneficial or running the ministry and for running the country itself.
I have given so many illustrations. Go to North Avenue, go and see the servant’s quarters who are staying there. Glaring instance, whether have you taken any steps? No steps have been taken. Therefore I say sir, this Clause IV of the Bill is a draconian law and I am opposing the Bill on this ground since a State Officer has been given unbridled, capricious power to impose damage without laying down the guidelines which is capable to be exercised arbitrarily.
Thank you Sir.