Supreme Court comes to the rescue of landlord

Owner not in need of shop, says tenant

A tenant cannot refuse to vacate a rented building claiming that his landlord or family has another job or business and is in no bona fide need of the property, the Supreme Court said in a recent judgment.

The judgment by a Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee was on an appeal filed by the tenant, Hukum Chandra, through his legal heirs against his landlord, Nemi Chand Jain, who wanted the rented property, a shop, for one of his sons, Rajendra Kumar.

The appeal was filed against a decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which went in favour of the landlord.

Mr. Chandra’s lawyers argued in court that Mr. Kumar was already doing an independent business in utensils and did not require the shop in question.

Their line of argument in the Supreme Court was buoyed up by the fact that the civil court had in 2004 found that since Mr. Kumar was not employed, he had no bona fide reason to vacate the tenant.

The Supreme Court, however, disagreed with the civil court.

Justice Banumathi, for the Bench, held that “it would be inappropriate to expect the son [Mr. Kumar] of the landlord to sit idle without doing any work till the eviction petition is decided on the basis of the bona fide requirement”.

“If there is categorical averment by the respondent [Mr. Jain] that the premises is required for his son Rajendra Kumar; engaging in the business of utensils in the meanwhile, cannot be a ground to deny a decree for eviction,” the apex court held, deciding in favour of the landlord.

The court asked the tenant to vacate the shop premises within three months.

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