The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More teeth for Tenancy Act

The state government will soon modify the newly-amended West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1997. A decision has been taken to remove the bar on judicial officers to hear ejectment suits and trials under the Tenancy Act.

The change in the present rule will also be made to allow the government set up earmarked benches in city courts to hear the landlord-tenant disputes.

The land and land revenue ministry will place the proposal for modifications before the Cabinet for a special notification, a spokesman of the ministry said on Thursday.

The government is also taking such a step to bring the corporation areas of Chandernagore, Siliguri, Asansol and Durgapur under the purview of the Tenancy Act.

At present, only the corporations of Calcutta and Howrah come under the purview of the law. “As the other corporation areas are not inducted into the law, litigants of landlord-tenant disputes are facing problems,” sources said.

The change will, however, be implemented only after the publication of the Amendment of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 2002. “The government will take up the matter with the high court through the judicial department of the state,” said land and land revenue minister Abdul Rezzak Mollah.

The decision for an amendment was taken after a deputation was organised by the executive committee members of the West Bengal Bar Council. A delegation from the council, led by chairman Amiya Kumar Chatterjee and former chairman Saradindu Biswas, met Mollah on the issue.

The council representatives placed their data and figures before the minister and claimed that the implementation of the West Bengal Tenancy Act, 1997, would be impossible because of lack of infrastructure in the offices of the rent controller. “The new law will not be able to provide justice to the common litigants of the state,” they claimed.

As per the new law, rent comptrollers (executive officers) have been entrusted with conducting the hearing of the ejectment proceedings and trials under the Premises Tenancy Act. The advocates are demanding that judicial officers, and not executive officers, be engaged in trials and ejectment suits.

While commenting on the amendment, the Bar Council’s newly-elected chairman Amiya Chatterjee said: “The proposed changes will benefit the common litigants. Till now, thousands of cases relating to tenancy of premises were pending at different courts of the city.”

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