The Delhi High Court stayed an eviction notice which was issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, directing three eminent artists to vacate the government allotted premises which were allotted to them. The High Court held the hearing on Friday.
Amongst the three artists, two of them are Padma Shri Awardees, who stated in their plea, against the notice, that the accommodation was granted to them for their extraordinary contribution in their respective field of arts, which they are still promoting despite earning very little out of it.
A bench of Justice Navin Chawla, on December 23’ 2020, put a stay on the said eviction notice and sought response from the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The next hearing regarding the matter will be held on January 22’ 2021. The petitioners are three Artists, namely, Bharati Shivaji, V. Jayarama Rao, and Banarasi Rao.
The order by the court, clearly states that
“This order shall, however, not prevent the respondents to consider the representation of the petitioners and communicate the decision thereon to the petitioners.”
Through the plea, the petitioners sought a direction to the respondents to formulate or frame guidelines in order to permit the eminent artists to continue to retain their accommodation for a lifetime upon payment of a periodic nominal license fee. The said plea stated that the petitioners are all senior citizens who do not have any alternate accommodations to stay in Delhi except for the one provided by the Government. The petitioners, unlike other professionals, do not make substantial sums of money and in fact, the amount that they earn is paltry in nature, which is also reinvested in their form of artwork.
Further, the plea also stated that,
“The petitioners are required to reside in Delhi since their institutions are situated here. Moreover, Delhi being the capital of the country provides an apt platform for cultural exchanges and showcasing their artistic works on occasions, which are of national importance. The petitioners are brand ambassadors of the art and culture of the country. They are prized possessions and must be nurtured and taken care of.”
According to the petition, the three artists were given accommodation way back in 1987, pursuant to certain guidelines, which were changed by the government. There have been, however, repeated timely extensions of their stay in the allotted government premises. On November 21’ 2008, the government further formulated the policy by which, even after expiration of the term of the license, the stay could be extended if the national interest and international obligation so warrant.
The petitioners, however, received the eviction notice which stated that the artists’ have extended their stay in the said premises and that the stay has been illegal since 2014 and that they are requested to vacate the premises within three months. The petitioner made a repeated representation in a bid to sort the issue out.
However, no hearings were held and no reasoning was offered to the petitioners as to why they have suddenly been asked to evict the premises by the Government, as stated in the petition.
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