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Delhi Rent Control Act 1958 challenged in court
New Delhi | Monday, Apr 26 2010 IST
 
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The Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Centre and Delhi Government and gave them three weeks time to respond to a petition challenging the Constitutional validity of the Delhi Rent Control Act (DRCA), 1958. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Valmiki J Mehta directed the governments to file their response to the petition and listed the matter for first week of July.

One Shobha Aggarwal and her two sisters have filed a petition in the court seeking that the DRCA should be done away with as it is five decades old and does not adhere to the present rent structure. The Act, passed way back in 1958, is an archaic legislation liable to be struck down as unconstitutional and violative of Article 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner said.

Ms Aggarwal and her sisters, who own a property of 800 sq meters on Asaf Ali road, said their property was rented out by her grandmother Sharbati Devi in 1955 for a rent of Rs 400 per month.

''Now after 55 years, we are still getting the same rent whereas the tenant's sons and grandsons are enjoying the fruits of the property by earning crores from the business at that premises,'' the petitioners said.

''If we go by the DRCA 1958 , we cannot ask the tenant to vacate the property as he does not fall under the ambit of this Act if his monthly rent is less than Rs 3,500 per month,'' Ms Shobha said.

''Lakhs of landlords who own property worth crores are getting monthly rents as Rs 400, Rs 600 or at the most Rs 1,200 and are living in a miserable state as they do not get worth of their property,'' the petitioner said. The tenants, who would have other wise had to shell out about Rs 2-4 lakh rent for the same property, are paying a pittiance to the landlords, Ms Shobha said. ''Even though you have some grounds to get the property vacated, it takes 25 to 30 years to fight a case in the court as our laws are faulty and outdated,'' Ms Shobha said.

''We three sisters are fighting the case for years and till now we haven't succeeded. Similarly, lakhs and lakhs of litigants are suffering and wasting their lakhs of rupees on litigation on the hope that some day they'll succeed,'' Ms Shobha said.

''This Act is violative of the Fundamental Right as it violates Article 21 of the Constitution which is Right to Livelihood. Can't a women earn her livelihood by renting out her property?''Ms Shobha asked.

The DRCA Act arbitrarily deprives property owners the use and enjoyment of their property either for self use or for economic gains, Ms Shobha said.

Citing Article 17 of December 10, 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations General Assembly, which states, ''Everyone has a right to own a property alone or in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property,'' Ms Shobha said since India is a signatory to this treaty it cannot violate this. The petitioner cited a judgement of the European Court of Human Rights passed on June 19, 2006, which in a case held the Polish government liable and said,'' The Polish Government had imposed disproportionate and excessive burden on Mrs Hutten-Czapska (landlady) which could not be justified by any legitimate community interest.'' The European Court had directed to compensate all those effected by the rent control legislation.

-- (UNI) -- 26DI41.xml

 

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