Public servants who retain their government accommodation beyond the retention period will have to pay charges for "unauthorised occupation" and the Centre may initiate recovery proceedings against the allottee, the Delhi High Court has held.
"...If the allottee retains the government accommodation beyond the retention period permitted to him/her by the Directorate of Estates, he/she will be liable to pay the licence fee at damages rates for the period of unauthorised occupation and thus, the government may initiate recovery proceedings against the allottee under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act," a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said.
The bench gave the order while rejecting the plea of an army officer who had appealed against a single judge's verdict upholding an Estate Officer's direction to vacate his accommodation and pay Rs 9.4 lakhs as damages for unauthorised use and occupation of his official accomodation from July 2008 to July 2011.
The petitioner had joined the Indian Army in December 1984 and in 2001 he was allotted the accommodation here when he was serving at the Headquarter of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
In May 2008, he was transfered out of and Delhi and was asked to vacate his accommodation in two months.
The Estate Officer had proceeded against him and directed him to vacate the premises.
Upholding the orders, the division bench observed that the defence pool accommodation was retained by the officer without any valid sanction for which he was liable to pay damages.
“On close scrutiny of the material placed on record, it is clear that the appellant could have retained the accommodation ...for the education of his children, if the children happened to be in class X or XII subject to the fulfilling conditions promptly provided under Rule 61 of the MoD Pool Accommodation Rules.
“Otherwise, under Rule 62 of the MoD Pool Accommodation Rules, an officer was required to vacate the defence pool accommodation and move to separate family accommodation,” the court said.
The bench noted that the officer was allowed to stay in defence pool accommodation for two months i.e. till July 8, 2008 and then he was allotted separate family accommodation on October 12, 2009.
It said that the officer had “failed to vacate the premises in question within the stipulated period i.e. on July 8, 2008 and vacated the same only on July 18, 2011.