Delhi High Court stays Centre's eviction notice directing Padmashri awardees to vacate allotted accommodation

The aggrieved petitioners are Bharati Shivaji, V. Jayarama Rao and Banasri Rao.
Delhi High Court stays Centre's eviction notice directing Padmashri awardees to vacate allotted accommodation
Asian Games Village Complex Ribaj.com

The Delhi High Court has stayed the Central government order directing three eminent artists, two being Padmashri awardees, to vacate the accommodation given to them in recognition of their extraordinary contribution in the field of art (Bharati Shivaji & Ors vs UOI).

The court has clarified that the stay order shall not prevent the Central government from considering the representation made by the artists.

"..there shall be a stay on the operation of the Impugned Order dated 09.10.2020, till the next date of hearing," a single-judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla ordered.

The aggrieved petitioners are Bharati Shivaji, V Jayarama Rao and Banasri Rao.

Bharati Shivaji was awarded the prestigious Padmashri Award, Sangeet Natak Academi Award and Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman for reviving and propagating Mohiniyattam, the classical dance of Kerala in India and abroad.

V Jayarama Rao, who resides with Banasri Rao - his wife and dance partner, was also awarded the Padmashri Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award amongst several other awards for his contribution to Kuchipudi.

Banasri Rao herself is a "foremost guru "who is the recipient of Kuchipudi Sangeet Natak Akademi Award given by the President of India, the Delhi State Award and the Andhra Pradesh Samman.

All three petitioners have been living in the government allotted accommodation in Asian Games Village Complex for the last 33 years.

Pursuant to the eviction notice issued by the Central government in October 2020, the petitioners were ordered to vacate the premises by December 31, failing which action under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 would be initiated against them.

The eviction order claimed that the petitioners' stay had been illegal since 2014.

Given the fact that they dedicated their entire lives to their respective art forms representing the country, the petitioners have contended before court that the eviction notice was shocking, both on moral and legal counts.

It is the petitioners' case that the orders of eviction violate their legitimate expectation to continue in the allotted accommodation which were granted to them on account of them devoting their life for the sake of their extraordinary contribution in the field of their respective arts.

It was also pointed out that no hearing or reasoning was afforded to them and the same violates the principles of natural justice.

Further, given the old age of the petitioners and the pandemic, the eviction order went contrary to the doctrine of proportionality, the Court was told.

It was emphasised that the petitioners, unlike other professionals, did not make substantial sums of money and had no alternate accommodation available in any part of India.

Senior Advocate Prashanto Sen with Advocates Pranaya Goyal, Aman Raj Gandhi, Abhirath Thakur, Dhawal Desai, briefed by Wadia Ghandy & Co (Delhi), appeared for the petitioners.

The matter would be heard next on January 22.

[Read order]

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