Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rent Control Act - all to protect the poor and the defenceless!

 The following headline "UP sends notice to Shanti Bhushan for Rs 1.33 crore" was of course very interesting. However, it was the old story which struck a raw nerve.

Lala Manohar Das, great grandfather of Sudhir Tandon, was one of the founders of the Allahabad Bank, which shifted its headquarters to Kolkatta in 1917. Bhushan’s father Vishwamitra had taken the property on rent way back in 1938.
The total area of the bungalow is over 11,000 sq metre. Of this, about one-third was vacated by Bhushan in favour of the owner who sold it in October last year. The remaining part is in possession of Bhushan’s family.
“For us, this was a win-win situation. We sold the land vacated by Shanti Bhushan for about Rs 10 crore. Otherwise, we were getting a monthly income of Rs 200 only from this property which was under the Rent Control Act,’’ said Sudhir Tandon.
A lawyer had rented our house. He stayed for many years. My grandfather who was looking after the place expired. My father was straight-forward and agreed to the extension requests of the tenant - but after many years, he still would not vacate. My cousin told my father(a phrase which sounds more poetic in Punjabi) - Has he(the tenant) been bitten by a mad dog that he would vacate your house, move to the suburbs and pay more!

Finally, my father filed a legal case for eviction. He may have lost the case on a technicality. However, the government officials take care of themselves. They created a law by which a government official could get his rented place vacated upon retirement.

It still took years as the tenant filed false statements. The supreme court did not admit the case and we are finally staying in the house now!

Still, it is depressing to read how the very well off, well connected and morally 'upright' - like a former law minister - benefit from laws like the rent control act! 

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