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SC rap on squatters

POLITICIANS AND non-government persons can occupy government quarters for a maximum of two years, and journalists for three years, according to a Supreme Court order to 5 state governments, including MP.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2006 13:49 IST

POLITICIANS AND non-government persons can occupy government quarters for a maximum of two years, and journalists for three years, according to a Supreme Court order to 5 state governments, including MP.

According to official sources, the SC has directed the State Government to free government quarters from unauthorised possession latest by October 31.

The court has asked the State to submit an affidavit within the deadline,  giving details of rent overdues, action taken for realisation and penal action taken against unauthorised occupants. The court sought to know as to why an authority or a body or the High Court should not be directed to act against those in unauthorised possession of government houses. 

The court has directed to recover rent at market rates from non-government persons. and journalists occupying quarters.
Overstaying in houses by government servants beyond the permitted time limit after transfer or retirement would amount to contempt of court, the SC warned.

In such cases the overdues would be deducted from their salary or pension. Or else, their properties would be confiscated, the SC directives said.

A citizen of Karnataka had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court drawing attention to allotment of Government quarters to ineligible persons and the State Government not taking action against the influential persons unauthorisedly occupying Government residential quarters.

Taking a serious view of this the Supreme Court has issued the directives to not only Karnataka but also to State Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The Supreme Court clarified there was a provision to allot a Government residential quarter to a journalist for a maximum period of three years and to the persons belonging to political parties and other non-Government persons for a maximum period of two years.

On expiry of this time limit the allotment can be renewed for maximum one year. After expiry of the time non-vacation of the house would amount to contempt of the court order and it would attract penal action.