The Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1923 ACT NO. 6 OF 1923 [ 5th March, 1923.] WH An Act further to amend and to consolidate the law relating to the provision of house- accommodation for military officers in cantonments. CHAP PRELIMINARY

Chapter I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title, extent and commencement.-

(1) This Act may be called the Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1923. (2) It extends to the whole of India . (3) It shall come into force on the first day of April, 1923, but it shall not become operative in any cantonment or part of a cantonment until the issue, or otherwise than in pursuance, of a notification as hereinafter provided by section 3: Provided that any notification made under section 3 of the Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1902 (2 of 1902), which is in force at the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to be a notification made under section 3 of this Act.

2. Definitions.-

(1) In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,-- (a) " Brigade area" means one of the Brigade areas, whether occupied by a brigade or not, into which India is for military purposes for the time being divided, and includes any area which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a Brigade area for all or any or the purposes of this Act; (b) " Cantonment Board" means a Cantonment Board constituted under the Cantonments Act, 1924 (2 of

1924.

);] (c) " Command" means one of the Commands into which India is for military purposes for the time being divided, and includes any area which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a Command for all or any of the purposes of this Act; (d) Officer Commanding the station] means the officer for the time being in command of the forces in a cantonment or, if that Officer is the Officer Commanding the District, the military officer who would be in command of those forces in the absence of the Officer Commanding the District]; (e) " District" means one of the Districts into which India is for military purposes for the time being divided; it includes a Brigade area which does not form part of any such District and any area which the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be a District for all or any of the purposes of this Act; (f) " house" means a house suitable for occupation by a military officer or a military mess, and includes the land and buildings appurtenant to a house; (g) " military officer" means a commissioned or warrant officer of the Indian military or air forces on military or air force duty in a cantonment, an officer of the Cantonments Department] and any person in Army departmental employment whom the Officer Commanding the District may at any time, by an order in writing, place on the same footing as a military officer for the purposes of this Act; (h) " owner" includes the person who is receiving, or is entitled to receive, the rent of a house, whether on his own account or on behalf of himself and others or as an agent or trustee, or who would so receive the rent, or be entitled to receive it, if the house were let to a tenant; and (i) a house is said to be in a state of reasonable repair when-- (i) all floors, walls, pillars and arches are sound and all roofs sound and watertight, (ii) all doors and windows are intact, properly painted or oiled, and provided with proper locks or bolts or other secure fastenings, and (iii) all rooms, out- houses and other appurtenant buildings are properly colour- washed or white- washed. (2) If any question arises whether any land or building is appurtenant to a house, it shall be decided by the Officer Commanding the station], whose decision thereon shall, subject to revision by the Collector], be final. (3) In the application of this Act to the territories which, immediately before the 1st November, 1956, were comprised in any Part B State], any reference to an enactment not in force in those territories] shall be construed as a reference to the corresponding law in force in those territories].] CHAP APPLICATION OF ACT

Chapter II

APPLICATION OF ACT

3. Cantonments or parts of cantonments in which Act to be operative.-

(1) The Central Government] may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare this Act to be operative in any cantonment or part of a cantonment , other than a cantonment situate within the limits of a presidency- town. (2) Before issuing a notification under sub- section (1) in respect of any cantonment or part of a cantonment, the Central Government] shall cause local inquiry to be made with a view to determining whether it is expedient to issue such notification, and what portion (if any) of the area proposed to be included therein should be excluded therefrom.

4. Saving of written instruments.- Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of any written contract with the Government]

unless all the parties to that contract consent in writing to be bound by the terms of this Act.] CHAP APPROPRIATION OF HOUSES

Chapter III

APPROPRIATION OF HOUSES

5. Liability of houses to appropriation.- Every house situate in a cantonment or part of a cantonment in respect of which a notification under sub- section

(1) of section 3 is for the time being in force shall be liable to appropriation by the Central Government] on a lease in the manner and subject to the conditions hereinafter provided.

6. Conditions on which houses may be appropriated.-

(1) Where-- (a) a military officer who is stationed in or has been posted to the cantonment, or a President of a military mess in the cantonment, applies in writing to the Officer Commanding the station stating that he is unable to secure suitable accommodation in the cantonment for himself or the mess on reasonable terms by the private agreement, and that no suitable house or quarter belonging to the Government] is available for his occupation or for the occupation of the mess, and the Officer Commanding the station is satisfied on inquiry of the truth of the facts so stated; or (b) the Officer Commanding the station is satisfied on inquiry that there is not in the cantonment a sufficient and assured supply of houses available at reasonable rates of rent by private agreement to meet the requirements of the military officers and military messes whose accommodation in the cantonment is in his opinion necessary or expedient, the Officer Commanding the station may, with a view to enforcing the liability under section 5, serve a notice on the owner of any house which appears to him to be suitable for occupation by a military officer or a military mess, as the case may be, within the cantonment, or, of this Act is in force in part only of the cantonment, within that part, requiring the owner to permit the house to be inspected, measured and surveyed by such person and on such date, not being less than three clear days from the service of the notice, and at such time between sunrise and sunset, as may be specified in the notice. (2) On the date and at the time so specified the owner shall be bound to afford all reasonable facilities to the person specified in the notice for the purpose of the inspection, measurement and survey of the house and, if he refuses or neglects to do so, such person may, subject to any rules made under this Act, enter on the premises and do all such things as may be reasonably necessary for the said purpose.]

7. Procedure for taking house on lease.-

(1) If, on the report of such person as aforesaid, the Officer Commanding the station] is satisfied that the house is suitable for occupation by a military officer or a military mess, he may by notice-- (a) require the owner to execute a lease of the house to the Central Government] for a specified period which shall not be less than five years; (b) require the existing occupier, if any, to vacate the house; and (c) require the owner to execute within such time as may be specified in the notice such repairs as may, in the opinion of the officer Commanding the station], be necessary for the purpose of putting the house into a state of reasonable repair. (2) Every notice issued under sub- section (1) shall state the amount of the annual rent proposed as reasonable for the house, calculated on the assumption that the owner will carry out the required repairs, if any. It shall also contain an estimate of the cost of such repairs. (3) The following shall be deemed to be conditions of every lease executed under sub- section (1), namely:-- (a) that the house shall, on the expiration of the lease, be redelivered to the owner in a state of reasonable repair, and (b) that the ground and the garden, if any, appertaining to the house shall be maintained in the condition in which they are at the time at which the lease is executed: Provided that nothing in this sub- section shall be deemed to affect the right of the Central Government] to avoid the lease in any such event as is specified in clause (e) of section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882).]

8. Procedure to be observed before taking a house on lease.-

Rep. by the Cantonments (House- Accommodation Amendment) Act, 1930 (9 of 1930), s. 5.

9. Sanction to be obtained before a house is occupied as a hospital, etc. No house in any cantonment or part of a cantonment in which this Act is operative shall, unless it was so occupied at the date of the issue of the notification declaring this Act or the

Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1902 (2 of 1902), as the case may be, to be operative, be occupied for the purposes of a hospital, school, school hostel, bank, hotel, or shop, or by a railway administration, a company or firm engaged in trade or business or a club, without the previous sanction of the Officer Commanding the District given with the concurrence of the Commissioner or, in a State where there are no Commissioners, of the Collector.

10. Houses not to be appropriated in certain cases.- No notice shall be issued under section 7 if the house--

(a) was, at the date of the issue of the notification declaring this Act or the Cantonments (House- Accommodation) Act, 1902 (2 of 1902), as the case may be, to be operative in the cantonment or part of the cantonment, or is, with such sanction as is required by section 9, occupied as a hospital, school, school hostel, bank, hotel or shop, and has been so occupied continuously during the three years immediately preceding the time when the occasion for issuing the notice arises, or (b) was, at the date of such a notification as is referred to in clause (a), or is, with such sanction as aforesaid, occupied by a railway administration or by a company or firm engaged in trade or business or by a club, or (c) is occupied by the owner, or (d) has been appropriated by the State Government with the concurrence of the Officer Commanding the District, or by the Central Government, for use a public office or for any other purpose.

11. Time to be allowed for giving possession of house.-

(1) If a house is unoccupied, a notice issued under section 7 may require the owner to give possession of the same to the officer Commanding the station] within twenty- one days from the service of the notice. (2) If a house is occupied, a notice issued under section 7 shall not require its vacation in less than thirty days from the service of the notice. (3) Where a notice has been issued under section 7 and the house has been vacated in pursuance thereof, the lease shall be deemed to have commenced on the date on which the house was so vacated. consideration under a registered lease from year to year, the Central Government shall be liable as aforesaid for the term of six months from the date on which the house is vacated in pursuance of the notice. (3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed-- (a) to render the Central Government so liable unless an application in writing in this behalf is made by the owner to the Officer Commanding the station] within fifteen days from the service of the notice; or (b) to limit or otherwise affect any agreement between the Government and the owner.

15. Power for owner to refer to civil court on question of rent.-

(1) If the owner considers that the rent stated in a notice issued under section 7 is not reasonable, he may, within a period of thirty] days from the service of such notice, refer the matter to a civil court, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV]: Provided that where an appeal has been made to the Officer Commanding the District under section 30, the period of thirty days shall be reckoned from the date on which the owner received notice of the result of the appeal under sub- section (2) of section 32.] (2) If the owner does not make such a reference] within the said period, he shall be deemed to have accepted the rent so offered.

16. Power for owner to refer to civil court on question of repairs.-

(1) If the owner fails to execute any repairs to a house as required by a notice issued to him under section 7, the Officer commanding the station] may by notice require the owner to execute the repairs within such period, not being less than thirty] days, as may be specified in the notice. (2) If the owner objects to any requisition contained in a notice issued under sub- section (1), he may within thirty] days from the service of the notice refer the matter to a civil court in accordance with the provisions of Chapter IV]: Provided that where an appeal has been made to the Officer Commanding the District under section 30, the period of thirty days shall be reckoned from the date on which the owner received notice of the result of the appeal under sub- section (2) of section 32.]

3. Every reference under sub- section (2) shall be accompanied by an estimate of the repairs, if any, which the owner considers necessary in order to put the house into a state of reasonable repair.]

17. Power to have repairs executed and recover cost.- If the owner fails to comply with a notice issued under sub- section

(1) of section 16, the Military Engineer Services or the Public Works Department may, with the previous sanction of the Officer Commanding the station and notwithstanding any right of reference conferred by that section, cause the repairs specified in the notice to be executed at the expense of the Central Government], and the cost thereof, or, where a reference has been made, the amount finally determined by the civil court, may be deducted from the rent payable to the owner.]

18. Notice to be given of devolution of interest in house in cantonment.- Every person on whom devolves, by transfer, by succession or by operation of law, the interest of an owner in any house, or in any part of any house, situate in a coantonment or part of a cantonment in respect of which a notification under sub- section

(1) of section 3 is for the time being in force, shall be bound to give notice of the fact to the Officer Commanding the station] within one month from the date of such devolution, and, if he, without reasonable cause, fails to do so, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees. CHAP PROCEDURE IN REFERENCES

Chapter IV

PROCEDURE IN REFERENCES

19. Jurisdiction in references.- All references under this Act shall be made by application to, and tried by, the Court of the

District Judge.

20. Procedure and powers of the Court.- References under this Act shall be deemed to be proceedings within the meaning of section 141 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), and in the trial thereof the Court may exercise any of its powers under that Code.

21. Restriction of scope of inquiry.- The scope of the inquiry in a reference under this Act shall be restricted to a consideration of the matters referred to the Court in accordance with the provisions of this Act.]

CHAP APPEALS

Chapter V

APPEALS

29. Appeal to High Court.-

(1) An appeal shall lie to the High Court against the decision of the Court of the District Judge upon a reference tried by it. (2) No appeal under this section shall be admitted unless it is made within thirty days from the date of the decision against which it is preferred. (3) An appeal preferred under this section shall be deemed to be an appeal from an order within the meaning of section 108 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).]

30. Appeal to Officer Commanding the District.- The owner or any tenant of a house in respect of which a notice has been issued under section 7 may, within a period of ten days] from the date of the service thereof, appeal to the Officer Commanding the District against the decision of the Officer Commanding the station to appropriate the house.]

31. Petition of appeal.-

(1) Every petition of appeal under section 30 shall be in writing and accompanied by a copy of the notice appealed against. (2) Any such petition may be presented to the Officer Commanding the station], and that officer shall be bound to forward it to the authority empowered by section 30 to hear the appeal, and may attach thereto any report which he may desire to make in explanation of the notice appealed against. (3) If any such petition is presented direct to the Officer Commanding the District and an immediate order on the petition is not necessary, the Officer Commanding the District may refer the petition to the Officer Commanding the station] for report.

32. Order in appeal final.-

(1) ] The decision on any such appeal of the Officer Commanding the District shall be final, and shall not be questioned in any court otherwise than on the ground that the house is situate in a cantonment, or part of a cantonment, in which this Act is not operative: Provided that no appeal shall be decided until the appellant has been heard or has had a reasonable opportunity of being heard in person or through a legal practitioner and in giving a decision the Officer Commanding the District shall record briefly the grounds therefor]. (2) Notice of the result of the appeal shall be given to the appellant as soon as may be, and, where the appellant is a tenant of the house, to the owner of the house also.]

33. Suspension of action pending appeal.- Where an appeal has been presented under section 30 within the period prescribed therein],

all action on the notice shall, on the application of the appellant, be held in abeyance pending the decision of the appeal. CHAP SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS

Chapter VI

SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISIONS

34. Service of notice and requisitions.- Every notice or requisition prescribed by this Act shall be in writing, signed by the person by whom it is given or made or by his duly appointed agent, and may be served by post on the person to whom it is addressed, or, in the case of an owner who does not reside in or near the cantonment, on his agent appointed in accordance with a bye- law made under clause

(29) of section 282 of the Cantonments Act, 1924 (2 of 1924)].

34A. Computation of periods of limitation.- The period prescribed for making any reference or preferring any appeal under this Act shall be computed in accordance with the provisions of the

Indian Limitation Act, 1908 (9 of 1908).]

35. Power for Central Government to make rules.-

(1) The Central Government may make rules to carry out the purposes and objects of this Act. (2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may-- (b) define the powers of entry, inspection, measurement or survey which may be exercised in carrying out the purposes and objects of this act or of any rule made hereunder. (3) Every rule made by the Central Government under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.]

36. Further provisions respecting rules.-

(1) The power to make rules under section 35 shall be subject to the condition of the rules being made after previous publication and of their not taking effect until they have been published in the Official Gazette and in such other manner (if any) as the Central Government may direct. (2) Any rule under section 35 may be general for all cantonments or parts of cantonments in which this Act is for the time being operative, or may be special for any of such cantonments or parts as the Central Government may direct. (3) A copy of the rules under section 35 for the time being in force in a cantonment shall be kept open to inspection free of charge at all reasonable times in the office of the Cantonment Board]. (4) In making any rule under clause (b) of sub- section (2) of section 35, the Central Government may direct that whoever obstructs any person, not being a public servant within the meaning of section

21. of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), in making any entry,

inspection, measurement or survey, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees, and, in the case of a continuing offence, with fine which, in addition to such fine as aforesaid, may extend to five rupees for every day after the first during which such offence continues.

37. Inapplicability of section 556 of the Code of Criminal

Procedure, 1898, to trials of offences.- No Judge or Magistrate shall be deemed, within the meaning of section 556 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), to be a party to, or personally interested in, any prosecution for an offence constituted by or under this Act merely because he is a member of the Cantonment Board or has ordered or approved the prosecution.

38. Protection to persons acting under Act.- No suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything in good faith done, or intended to be done, under this Act or in pursuance of any lawful notice or order issued under this Act.

39. Repeals. Rep. by the Repealing Act, 1927 (12 of 1927), s. 2 and Sch.