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Posted at: Mar 21, 2017, 1:42 AM; last updated: Mar 21, 2017, 1:42 AM (IST)

NRIs want more powers for courts to settle property cases

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20

Non-resident Indians (NRI) feel that courts should be given more power and officers be made accountable if the NRI Property Safeguards Act, when it gets implemented, is to serve its purpose.

The Punjab Cabinet cleared a proposal for the Act on Saturday.

The NRIs welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to enact a Bill in the Assembly, but sounded a note of caution. No Act would have meaning till NRI cases got a special treatment in courts and responsibility of officers fixed to settle cases within a timeframe, they said.

The Cabinet decided to make a law for “summary eviction of the tenant with a 90-day notice”.

North American Punjabi Association officiating director Satnam Singh Chahal said, “We appreciate the Congress government’s gesture. But our bad experience with the powers that be makes us wary. It did not honour its commitment on easy investment and more grievance redressal mechanisms.”

He listed one of the problems. “NRIs face difficulty in getting back the possession of their land because of the cumbersome legal process. The false owner of the NRI property takes the possession and later files a case; the case drags for years. In case an NRI produces a document to prove that the disputed property is in his name, he should be given the possession. A case, however, can continue,” Chahal said.

Canada-based educationist Dr Harinder S Sandhu said, “The success of any policy depends on its implementation. Delaying tactics by revenue officials has been the biggest concern for NRIs. Interference by Akali MLAs and halqa in-charges (including their henchmen) was a big problem.”

Chahal added, “Former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had, in 2013, said the state was to become an ideal investment destination. Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had, in 2014, sought investment from NRIs. Nothing happened.”

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