KOZHIKODE: Abu Haji, an elderly man hailing from Chemmad in Malappuram district, had rented out a room in his housing quarters to a local politician a couple of years ago. Abu had asked the tenant to vacate the room after he defaulted the monthly rent payments. As the occupant refused to comply, Abu approached the Parappanangadi Munsiff Court, and three months ago the court ruled in favour of him.
But defiant, the tenant filed an appeal against the ruling and continued to live in the room despite having no rental agreement.
This is not a lone incident. Discrepancies are rife in leasing of buildings in state as the 49-year-old Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965, has become as good as obsolete.
However, the government’s attempt to enact a new law- Buildings (Lease, Basic Rent and Other Facilities) Bill, 2013- to regulate the leasing of buildings is yet to be materialised even after a decade. Though, the government had announced that the bill would be introduced in the recently concluded Assembly session, it didn’t happened.
Law Secretary C P Ramaraja Prema Prasad said that the bill was not introduced in the last Assembly owing to the plenitude of bills pending before the Assembly for approval. “Law Department has already finalised the bill. But it never saw the light of day as the Assembly session had to deal with a large number of Legislative businesses.” He, however, suggested that the government can either promulgate an Ordinance or wait for the next Assembly session to pass the bill, while adding that the decision on issuing an Ordinance rested upon the Housing Department. Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan said that the government is not contemplating on issuing an Ordinance.
Though the process of enacting a new law to regulate the leasing of buildings had been proposed 12 years ago, it was during the tenure of the previous LDF government that serious thoughts were made in to the drafting of the bill. Since then, draft bills were prepared more than once, only to make amendments to each of them owing to differences between various stakeholders.
Earlier, the government had published the Kerala Buildings (Lease,Standard Rent and Other Facilities) Bill, 2012, but was later amended. C Prakash, general secretary, Kerala Building Owners Welfare Association,said: “After an inordinate delay, the bill was supposed to be passed in the recently concluded Assembly session, but the government had taken a step back by not incorporating it in the list of legislative business to be transacted during the session. However, it can’t be deferred for long as Union Government and the Court have already directed the state government to enact a new law to regulate the leasing of buildings.”
T Nazeeruddin, president of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (KVVES), said that the government’s stand on the matter is deplorable. “It is our long-pending demand that the bill be made a law. We have suggested a couple of changes to the draft bill,” he said.