Supreme Court to hear Centre plea against Sujan Singh Park flat eviction
On Friday, solicitor general Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and sought its urgent listing.
Taking note that “bouncers” were trying to throw out senior government officials from flats in Sujan Singh Park in Khan Market, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on April 5 a petition by the Union government against a Delhi high court order, directing eviction of residents from central-government allotted flats and the payment of rent dues to the landlord, Sir Sobha Singh and Sons Private Limited.
Late Sir Sobha Singh was a prominent civil contractor and real estate developer in Delhi and his firm has worked on several projects in Lutyens’ Delhi during the British era. The firm has denied claims that it sent bouncers to get the flats vacated and said its actions were carried out under due supervision of the court bailiff and police.
On Friday, solicitor general Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and sought its urgent listing. “They are sending bouncers to evict. I appear for the Union of India and we have filed a petition,” Mehta said.
“How can they send bouncers against government officers,” asked the CJI. The SG responded that it is unfortunate that such things are happening.
At this, the CJI said the matter will be listed on April 5.
The Centre approached the top court against the Delhi high court order issued in January 2020, directing the Centre to pay unpaid arrears of rent owed to Sir Sobha Singh and Sons. The order also directed that the government vacate five single-bedroom flats, nine double-bedroom flats, 39 servants’ quarters and 25 garages situated in North and South Sujan Singh Park.
In its appeal, the Centre contended that the order passed by the rent controller is erroneous since the Delhi Rent Control Act (DRCA) would not be applicable in the present case since the property was demised in favour of Sir Sobha Singh and Sons in the form of a ”grant”, in accordance with the provisions of the Government Grants Act, 1895.
The Union government claimed that the perpetual lease deed signed between the government and Sir Sobha Singh and Sons entitled the government to occupy 50% of flats at a fair rent. According to the appeal, the only consequence of non-payment of rent has to be a judicial order on recovery of arrears, and the landlord cannot be permitted to recover possession in the case of a lease deed executed under the Government Grants Act.
The government said the ordinary provision relating to eviction of rented premises over the non-payment of rent under the DRCA would not apply to flats in Sujan Singh Park.
Earlier this month, HT reported how officials living in the upscale housing complex were being asked to immediately vacate the flats allotted to them by the Central government.
Kabir Singh, director of Sir Sobha Singh and Sons, said, “There is no question of using any bouncers... All proceedings took place in accordance with the law...”
A senior ministry official said, “We approached SC as bounders were sent to evict our officials.”