Rent Control Laws were enacted in Europe especially in London in the aftermath of second word war which had destroyed the urban habitats on a massive scale. Object was to prevent landlords from taking advantage of unfortunate situation by hoarding residential accommodation. Rent Control legislation besides other things, protect the tenants from eviction except with the permission of courts only in specified circumstances. One such circumstance is that the landlord requires the property for his bona fide need.
Rent Control in India:
Delhi Rent Control Act is one such legislation. Initially introduced in 1936 it was recast and reenacted in 1958. Similar legislations are in place in every other state of Bharat (aka India). After the Amendments made in the year 1988, the provisions of the Act are intended to apply only on properties let out for rent below Rs. 3000.
The Delhi Rent Control Act, as originally enacted did not provide for eviction of commercial properties on the ground of bona fide requirement of the tenant. Supreme Court, a few years back struck down this anomaly as unconstitutional and opened flood gates of litigation for landlords of commercial properties to seek eviction of tenants.
Bona fide requirement:
Now bona fide is ordinarily defined as some thing which is not mala fide or free from malice. In case of Rent Control, courts have given a rather unusually broad definition. Landlord can be wishful thinker, extravagant or arbitrary in making choices yet s/he is bona fide. In fact nothing short of fraud entitles the landlord to seek summery judgement of eviction against the tenant.
Greedy merchants or naive poor:
The tenants paying small amounts of rent are ordinarily greedy merchants, squatting on properties worth millions for paltry sums or naive poor who have not realised the sudden change in law. Smarter ones are already negotiating with their landlords for outright sale, realising that litigation is expensive. Naive ones are trapped by mediocre lawyers for cheap fee who merely postpone the inevitable for some time.
Every week I get to meet such tenants and it is astonishing to see that most of them have no clue about the soup they are in or even the fact that they are in this soup right upto their noses. Worse is that they are not eager to pay, like most people are in such difficult situation. Is it stupidness or greed or both? Difficult to stereo type but not entirely unfounded.
Why temple of Rent Control Goddess?
God is a dirty word now but it represents the acceptance of human mortality and possibility of impossibility in life. Most temples are swarmed by people under fear of losing what we have or to seek forgiveness for they have done. Another kind is that which wants to thank the God for answering the prayers, but that is not relevant.
In India there are said to be about nine millions Hindu Gods worshiped by people in different temples. New ones are being added every year. Sai Baba is such recent entrant.
The tenants who are unable to shell out money to fight their cause, which can now be won only by extra ordinary effort, should get a new God or Goddess to worship against the eviction. It would eliminate the distress, that the wide spread eviction is going to cause. Temples and priests often play the role of counsellors here. More importantly as grief counsellors.
What should be the appearance of such Goddess? Still working on that part. But some traditional priest would be more suited for that part of the job.
If someone has already started such God-shop, do let me know. I will forward the address to next visitor.