NEW DELHI: More than a week after the Delhi High Court asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to live up to his promise last year that the AAP government would pay the house rent of those who were unable to pay it due to the pandemic, petitioners in the HC plea termed the HC order a “big relief ”.
“Rent dues amounting to around Rs 70,000 are yet to be paid to the landlord...He still keeps on asking when we will pay the whole amount. Earlier, he had scolded us, abused us and even threatened to throw us out of the house. The HC order was indeed a big relief...,” said Najma, one of the petitioners who had approached the court. Najma, who works as a cook and originally hails from Shahjahapur in UP, has been living in Dwarka village for the past 40 years. Her two-room rented home which accommodates four people comes at a cost of Rs 7,500 per month.
“But no help has come so far. Just a few days ago the landlord again asked for the rent... The CM has to fullfill the promises he made. We don’t have work, so how do we pay rent? Since the CM made the promise last year, I have been hopeful that something would be done by the government,” she added. Najma said she had never failed to pay the rent before the lockdown. “I lost my job last year… I am trying to start my work again but it has been unsuccessful so far...
Also, my daughter-in-law fell ill. Now, the only earning member is my younger son. His salary is not enough to pay rent and also meet our monthly expenditures , ”rued Najma. Advocate Gaurav Jain said the petitioners were struggling over the rent issue when they had approached him. Their first PIL was rejected as it didn’t appeal to the court.
“Most of them are not properly educated, so I helped them to write to the chief minister. The CM’s of fice did not respond t o our requests. Then we went ahead with the petition again,” Jain stated. On March 30 last year, a week after the nationwide lockdown was announced, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a press briefing had appealed to the landlords not to force tenants to pay rent for two to three months. The CM had further stated that his government would pay the rent if tenants failed to do so.
Promise should be kept: Judge
The court said the promise made by the CM clearly amounts to an enforceable promise, the implementation of which ought to be considered by the government