Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Smooth & Speedy Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants from Government Residential Accommodation

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2019 which was passed by the Parliament during the Budget Session, 2019 has come into effect from yesterday, i.e. 16-09-2019. The Gazette Notification in this regard has been issued.

This would facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from Government residential accommodations, and ensure retrieval of these residential accommodations from unauthorised occupants without requiring elaborate procedures under Sections 4 and 5 of the Act. This is expected to further increase the availability of Government residential accommodations for eligible persons and reduce the waiting period.

As per the Amendment Act, the Estate officer will issue short Show cause notice of three days before the eviction of the unauthorized occupant from Government accommodation.

The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 was enacted to provide for eviction of unauthorised occupants from “public premises” and for certain incidental matters. Government provides residential accommodation on licence basis to its employees, Members of Parliament and other dignitaries while they are in service or till the term of their office. As per the existing allotment rules, after the end of eligibility as per the terms and conditions of the licence, the occupants of such residential accommodations become unauthorised occupants and are to vacate the same. The Act confers powers upon the estate officers to evict such unauthorised occupants from “public premises” in a smooth, speedy and time-bound manner. Under the existing provisions, the eviction proceedings of unauthorised occupants from “public premises” takes around five to seven weeks’ time. It may take around four more weeks in case the unauthorised occupants file an appeal before the District Court under the Act. However, eviction proceedings take a much longer period than the timeline prescribed in the Act. Sometimes, it takes years to evict the unauthorised occupants, especially, if the unauthorised occupant approaches higher courts.

Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs

[Press Release dt. 16-09-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Pakistan: The Three-Judge Bench of Gulzar Ahmed, Faisal Arab and Ijaz Ul Ahsan, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed seeking out of turn allotment for government residential quarters.

Petitioner herein worked as a PTC Teacher and was residing with her husband (Assistant Director, KPK TEVTA) in government accommodation. Her husband retired from his post in April, 2017. After expiry of six months’ notice period, respondent issued a vacation notice to them. Petitioner applied for transfer of the quarter in her name on under Rule 4 of the KPK Residential Accommodation at Peshawar (Procedure for Allotment) Rules, 1980. Her request was not acceded to. In the meantime, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Buildings (Management, Control and Allotment) Act, 2018 was promulgated which repealed and substituted the previous Rules. Consequently, petitioner’s application was not accepted which prompted her to approach the Peshawar High Court in its constitutional jurisdiction. However, her constitutional petition was also dismissed. Hence, this appeal.

Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that under the 1980 Rules, a vested right accrued in favour of the appellant which could not be taken away through a subsequent change in law/rules. Further, the 2018 Act and the Rules framed thereunder could not be given retrospective effect. Thus, the High Court had erred in applying relevant laws and had exercised jurisdiction in a perverse and erroneous manner.

Learned Additional AG Qasim Wadood appearing on behalf of respondent submitted that the old Rules were struck down by the High Court holding that out of turn allotments were required to be prohibited. Further, the 2018 Act was promulgated to give effect to the said judgment of the High Court. The said Ordinance created a special quota for children and spouses of the deceased/retired employees, and the petitioner’s name was reflected at serial no. 13 of waiting list under the said quota.

Agreeing with Additional AG’s submission, the Court held that petitioner would be entitled to allotment of an official accommodation at her own turn, and she could not rely upon the 1980 Rules to advance her claim. Further, she has already retained the government accommodation for a grace period of six months whereafter she and her husband were obliged to vacate the government accommodation and utilise house rent allowance paid by the government.

In view of the above, it was held that the impugned judgment did not suffer from any legal, procedural or jurisdictional defect, error or flaw that may require interference by this Court.[Riffat Shaheen v. Government of KPK, Civil Appeal No.1459 of 2018, Order dated 07-03-2019]