Members of Faridkot bar association boycotted courts on Wednesday to protest against the reported move of the Punjab government to implement the new Punjab Rent Act, 1985, which is to replace the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949.
Lawyers claimed that the act was going to be implemented from November 30. "If the new Punjab Rent Act is implemented, powers to decide all kinds of disputes regarding tenant disputes for the commercial, residential and accommodation properties within the municipal limits would go to the respective sub judicial courts (SDMs). It is against the interests of tenants because the civil administration (executive) is very prone to political interference," said Deep Chand Goyal, president, Farikdot, district bar association
"The move is akin to providing protection to property mafia instead of tenants. According to the new Act, appeals can only be filed only in tribunals set up for this purpose in Amritsar and Patiala in Punjab. Most people will thus have to travel long distances to file appeals in tribunals. The high courts are reportedly bypassed in the new act and affected parties can only approach the Supreme Court against the verdict of the tribunal," he claimed.
" The SDM courts or revenue courts has deep-rooted political interference. These are working directly under the state government and the local MLAs or other politicians continue to influence the decisions of these courts," said Mangat Arora, a senior lawyer from the bar association.
"The new act will be used by the land mafia. Influential and well-connected people will start buying these disputed properties and then dispose of them at profits," said Jaswant Singh, another member of the district bar association.
"What was needed was that the settlement of cases under the new act needed to be sped-up. This withdrawal of powers from civil courts is wrong," said Kulwinder Singh Sekhon, former president of district bar association, Faridkot.
"We are observing a strike on Thursday as well," said Goyal.