Companies & Sectors
Committee approves rejig of gas allocation policy

The CoS agreed to give first priority listing in natural gas allocation to city gas distributors, which sells CNG to automobiles and piped gas to households, replacing urea-manufacturing fertiliser plants

 

A Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has approved a rejig of natural gas allocation policy, giving city gas distribution companies like Indraprastha Gas Ltd top priority for allocation of domestically produced fuel.

 

The CoS approved a proposal of Oil Ministry for changes in priority ranking for gas allocation, official sources said. The issue will now go to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for final approval.

 

At present, urea-manufacturing fertiliser plants have the first right over the domestically produced gas, followed by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plants and power stations. City gas distribution (CGD) projects are ranked fourth in the priority list.

 

The CoS agreed to change this priority listing to give CGD firms like IGL, which sells CNG to automobiles and piped gas to households in the national capital, top priority, they said.

 

CGD firms like IGL currently get 8.32 million standard cubic meters per day of gas out of total domestic supplies of about 77 mmscmd.

 

As city gas projects get rolled out in new cities, the requirement of the sector will grow and so the government is now giving it top priority.

 

Sources said compressed natural gas (CNG) and piped natural gas (PNG) are clean fuels and will help replace subsidised diesel in automobiles and LPG in households respectively.

 

According to the new allocation policy, additional requirement for CGD will be first met by imposing proportionate cuts in the domestic gas presently being supplied to sectors other than priority sectors as decided by the Oil Ministry.

 

Plants providing inputs to strategic sectors of atomic energy and space research will get the second priority, followed by plants that can extract higher fractions from natural gas.

 

Gas-based urea plants will rank fourth in the priority list and power stations fifth.

 

Since domestic gas production is now stagnant, it is being proposed to freeze allocation to all sectors expect CGD and LPG sector, at supply levels of 2013-14.

 

In 2013-14, fertiliser plants received 29.79 mmscmd of gas. Power plants got 25.59 mmscmd while LPG extraction plants received 1.83 mmscmd. Petrochemical plants received 3.32 mmscmd while refineries got 1.89 mmscmd and steel plants 1.32 mmscmd.

 

Sources said incremental production from NELP blocks like KG-D6 and Gujarat State Petroleum Corp's (GSPC) Deendayal gas will be allocated as per the decision taken in the meeting of an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on 23 August 2013.

 

The EGoM had decided that incremental gas would go to power plants.

 

The requirement of CGD project is quite small compared to power and fertiliser sectors and can be met through proportionate cuts, they said.

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Paid news saga: HC stays Election Commission's notice to Ashok Chavan

Chavan had challenged the notice saying that the EC did not follow procedure laid out in the Representation of People Act, while issuing the notice

 

The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the showcause notice served by the Election Commission (EC) to Ashok Chavan in the paid news case against the former chief minister of Maharashtra.

 

Chavan had challenged the Commission's notice saying that the EC did not follow the procedure laid out in the Representation of People Act while issuing the notice.

 

Meanwhile, complainant's lawyer in the case, Dilip Taur said, "The court has issued a notice while hearing his petition. We are not surprised, and we will challenge it in Supreme Court. I think that this notice, which has been issued is prima facie wrong."

 

"We will place many of the issues that were rejected by the High Court judge in front of the Supreme Court," Taur added.

 

On 13th July, the Election Commission had rejected the Chavan's explanation in defence of the paid news allegations against him and had issued a showcause notice to him asking why he should not be disqualified as a member of Parliament (MP) from Nanded.

 

Chavan has been accused of fudging poll expenses during the 2009 Maharashtra Assembly Elections. On the directions of the Supreme Court, the EC had issued a notice to Chavan to appear before it.

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3 Kinds of 'Tenants' and their rights

What are the rights of statutory tenant, lessee and licensee?

 

Letting out premises is a sensitive issue. Both landlords and tenants turn hawkish in any discussion on this. The battle of owners versus occupiers would turn less hostile if each understood their limits, claiming only that which is rightfully theirs. There can be roughly three kinds of occupation – statutory tenant, lessee and licensee. Described below are the rights of each of them.

1. Statutory Tenant: A tenant is a protected species under the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 and is often aptly referred to as a statutory tenant. He can be evicted only on the limited grounds mentioned in the said Act. The most common ground being “the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for occupation by himself or by any person for whose benefit the premises is held.” It is justifiable that ‘destruction of the premises by the tenant’ gives the landlord the right to seek repossession of his property and end the tenancy. Change of use, as well as/or non-use of the premises by the tenant for a continuous period of six months, is yet another ground for eviction under section 16 of the Rent Control Act.

A statutory tenant pays a nominal rent. Upon his death, any relative residing with him at the time of his demise steps into the former’s shoes by law. No testamentary bequest can be made by the tenant in respect of his tenancy rights nor can he transfer, mortgage, sub-let, give on license basis, or otherwise part with his tenancy rights. A tenancy is a creation of the statute and lives as well as falls as by the provisions thereof.  Any transgression may cost a tenant dear.

2. Lessee: In the hierarchy of possessory rights, the position of the lessee is far superior. Here, the Transfer of Property Act comes into play. It is a transfer of a right to enjoy property by the lessor/owner in favour of the lessee, so much so that, unless there is a contract or a local usage to the contrary, a lessee can assign, sub-lease, mortgage, or part with his interest in the property. A lessee does not live under the fear that, on the grounds of bona fide requirements his lessor will have him evicted from the premises. He breathes freer air. It is not unusual to come across leases for a term of 100 years or even in perpetuity. There is precious little that an owner can do once he has leased out his property.
 
3. Licensee: A licensee finds a place for himself at the bottom of the pyramid. He has no interest whatsoever in the premises. As suggested by the term ‘license’, a licensee occupies premises at the pleasure of the licensor/owner.

In wonderful legalese, section 52 of the Indian Easement Act, 1882 defines ‘license’ as follows. “Where one person grants to another, or to a definite number of other persons, a right to do, or continue to do, in or upon the immovable property of the grantor, something which would, in the absence of such right, be unlawful, and such right does not amount to an easement or an interest in the property, the right is called a license”.

This wafer thin right is therefore regarded as the safest option by premises owners in Mumbai. And why not: if a licensee refuses to vacate residential premises, under the Rent Act, a fast track Competent Authority can decide on matters governing eviction and mesne profits. Mesne profits can be as much as twice the license fee fixed under the agreement.

Needless to add, all the three types of instruments- tenancy agreement, lease deed and a leave and license agreement- are compulsorily registerable. Not registering of a tenancy or a leave and license agreement can land the landlord/owner behind bars for a term extending up to three months!

(Divya B Malcolm is a senior associate with Kochhar & Co. The views expressed are her own and not to be construed as legal advice)

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COMMENTS

Amol Sathe

1 month ago

thanks for informative article, I would like to know if the tenant makes stop payment of the rent cheque since the landlord is having outstanding dues and transfers the adjusted amount , can the tenant be penalized for not paying full rent ? Even though he informed teh landlord that he was stopping the rent and willing to pay the adjusted amount since his due was outstanding for few months ? Please clarify

Amratlal

3 months ago

Many thanks for information. Be blessed.

Amratlal

3 months ago

What about property given on rent ages ago,Can land lords get possession in any way to sell or rebuild new building for them and part on new tenants to earn just enough for maintenance , other taxes and something to live on and pass on to their generation.

Amratlal

8 months ago

Governments all over the world should wake up now and realise they are being trusted to look after the country honestly and find the cause that creates dishonesty and bribery rather than letting it spread and be uncontrollable.

Amratlal

8 months ago

There are many landlords with various tenants occupying the premises since decades at a very minimum rent (not enough for a da'd square meal!!).
Many may have deceased and their family still on the same old rent with own property eles were on hefty rent,or using the premises as a holiday home with intention to obtain huge amount to handover the possession and property left to detroit.
Can such tenants be legally evacuated?.
How?

Subhasish Panda

10 months ago

As far as Sec.55 of the Maharashtra Act, it should apply only to Maharashtra only. Can this be extended to whole of India? Is there anything in Indian Registration Act which provides or from which it can be inferred that a License is compulsorily registrable? And if registrable, at what rate of stamp duty payable?

Harwant

2 years ago

In response to Divya Malcolm

Thank you for your clarifications! Your write up is very informative and useful as far as the laws are concerned.

Really, I was not questioning your statement of facts or knowledge of law. My post related in essence to the illegality of the provisions stated by you and its enforceability.

If a licensee and his landlord do not want to register a license agreement and just get it notarized, who is the aggrieved party and who would lodge a complaint and launch prosecute and how?

Also, if any punishment is to be prescribed, it has to be for both the landlord and the tenant/licensee. No agreement can be registered without both parties being present. What if the tenant refuses to comply with registration formalities? The provisions quoted by you seem to be arbitrary and discriminatory; and in violation of Article 13, 14 and 16 of Fundamental Rights of Citizens of India.

Based on my basic commonsense, I am of the view that a jail term can be there primarily for any major offense with criminal intentions.

It is not easy to register any document in India. The procedures are complicated and very inconvenient. Generally, the registration of documents is for the safety of the parties and it is mandatory to register the sale or lease of property.

It is not easy to register any document in India. The procedures are complicated and very inconvenient and dominated by agents. Generally, the registration of documents is for the safety of the parties except the mandatory registration of sale or lease of property. There are several hundred thousand flat owners in Registered Societies in big cities whose sale agreements are not registered. It is not practical to prosecute them and send them to jail. The solution lies in persuading the parties to register their agreements and make it convenient for them to register without paying heavily to agents and touts; rather than threatening them with jail.

For example, the employment contracts of several Professors were terminated in 2013 by the NIT Agartala (a Statuary body under the MHRD, Government of India), under a clause that the employer can terminate any employment contract any time without assigning any reason and without notice and everyone who took employment with the institution was made to accept the terms before joining. The aggrieved professors challenged the termination of their contracts under Article 226 of the constitution. The Division Bench of the Honorable High Court of Tripura ruled that the order of the authorities terminating the employment contracts were totally arbitrary violated article 13 and 14 of the fundamental rights and principles of natural justice. Nobody can be condemned without being heard and given a chance to defend himself. Also, the particular clause under which the agreement was terminated was held illegal and non-enforceable.

The clauses of the law quoted by you and understood by me are totally arbitrary and in violation of the Fundamental Rights of Citizens of India!

In the Houston (USA), any agreement can be registered with the county (District Office)on payment of a Registration fee of US $ 20 and producing three notarized copies of the agreement one is kept by the county clerk, and one each is given to the two parties to the contract. The whole procedure takes just about 5 minutes. If anywhere it takes over ten minutes, a complaint must be registered - the form and the box for lodging complaints is kept in ever public office. Every branch of major banks has at least one officer who is a registered notary for the convenience of customers.

Just making seemingly unfair rules and provisions under the laws does not solve any problems. The laws must be reasonable and based on basic commonsense. What we need is good Governance in India and which is totally lacking!

The above response is purely based on my personal views and knowledge and does not represent any kind of legal opinion!

REPLY

Amratlal

In Reply to Harwant 3 months ago

Nice to read your comments and agree the procedures are complicated and very inconvenient and dominated by agents and also civil servants + solicitors who works for hefty fees and stretch the court cases for ages.

Harwant

2 years ago

In my comment, please read: 'penalized imprisonment' as penalized with imprisonment

Harwant

2 years ago

The last part is not clear-How non-registration of License agreement can be penalized imprisonment-sounds ridiculous- 'Not registering of a tenancy or a leave and license agreement can land the landlord/owner behind bars for a term extending up to three months'! This seems to be outrageous! Registration should be left to the owners and licensee or made simpler. All the agents thrive on this kind of provisions for extortion of money and bribes far in excess of the registration charges. With millions of properties on L&L, putting people to such inconveniences is just draconian law, if it is really so!

REPLY

Divya Malcolm

In Reply to Harwant 2 years ago

Here's section 55 sub-clause 3 of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act:
"(3) Any landlord who contravenes the provisions of this section shall, on conviction, be
punished with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine not
exceeding rupees five thousand or with both."

Divya Malcolm

In Reply to Harwant 2 years ago

Here's section 55 sub-clause 3 of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act:
"(3) Any landlord who contravenes the provisions of this section shall, on conviction, be
punished with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine not
exceeding rupees five thousand or with both."

Amratlal

In Reply to Divya Malcolm 3 months ago

and how much would this have costed to the parties involved, at least there be some compansation along with.

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