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National Capital Region--Delhi

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SC ruling brings reprieve to tenants
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 8
The Supreme Court today declined to issue a direction to the Centre for implementing the controversial Delhi Rent Control Act kept in limbo since 1995 despite the Presidentís assent. The courtís refusal to issue a mandamus to the government for notifying the legislation is considered to be a major relief to lakhs of tenants and traders in the Capital.

A Bench comprising Mr Justice R.C. Lahoti and Mr Justice Ashok Bhan dismissed the appeals by Common Cause an NGO, and several individuals against the Delhi High Courtís November 2000 order, declining to issue a direction to the Government for implementing the Act. The high court had held that the executive had the discretionary power to notify a legislation passed by Parliament.

Upholding the high court order, the apex Court rejected the Contention of Common Cause that under the General Clause Act (GCA), the government was bound to implement it.

The court said the provisions of the GCA would not apply in this case as it had been specifically laid down in the Act that its implementation would be subject to the notification by the government.

No courts could issue a mandamus to the government both at the Centre and the states to notify any legislation as it would depend on the will of the executive when to enforce a law passed by Parliament or the state legislature, the Bench ruled.

The Act against which the Capitalís tenants, especially the traders doing business from rented premises had lodged a protest, gave power to a landlord to evict the tenant from his premises on summary notification if he could prove that the property was required by him for his personal bona fide use.

The local units of major political parties, including the BJP and the Congress had come out strongly against the Act because tenants accounted for a majority of the population.
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