23 August 2020

Even If landlord has multiple premises available with him still the tenant cannot dictate to him which of the premises he may seek to get vacated

Tenant can be evicted for bona fide requirement of married daughter of landlord even if such daughter or her husband is having resources to purchase other premisses

    In another decision rendered by a single Judge of our High Court in Vinod Gupta vs. Kailash Aggarwal & Ors. where the bona- fidé requirement of a married daughter was canvassed, the single Judge relying upon the decision in Sunder Singh Talwar (supra) has also referred to a 2014 decision as follows :
"14. Further in Rajender Prasad Gupta V. Rajeev Gagerna 2014 (114) DRJ 182, the Court held as follows :
"5. Having considered the arguments of learned counsel for the parties, this Court is of the view that the Trial Court has taken into consideration each of the contentions raised in the leave-to-defend and found them to be not triable issues. The reasons for and conclusion arrived at cannot be faulted. Furthermore, simply because the daughter of a marriageable age and allegedly likely to marry would not necessary cut her ties from her maternal family nor would the requirement for her accommodation in her father's house be lessened. Indeed, in the present times a daughter who is married-out, may like to retain her accommodation in her father's house which forms an emotional anchor and a place for refuge for all times. In times of an unfortunate marital discord such need becomes more acute should there be such a need.
    Conversely her family also would want to retain a room so as to re-assure her of a continued place of residence in her paternal home. A married daughter's ties with her paternal family do not end upon her marriage. For a married daughter her parents' home is always a refuge; an abode of reassurance and an abiding source of emotional strength and happiness. In the present case the daughter is a practicing advocate, i.e. a qualified professional, the need is all the more acute and bona fide. This Court finds, as did the Trial Court did, that no triable issues were raised in the leave-to- defend. Therefore, there was no need to grant leave or set the matter for trial. The reasons and the conclusion arrived at in the impugned order are correct and call for no interference." 
"15. Thus the law discussed above does not leave any room for further discussion on this topic. Admittedly the law as it stands, the daughters share equal rights in their parental properties as a son does, hence saying a married daughter severe (sic) all her relations with her father's family and would never be considered dependent upon the family's property, residential or commercial, that her parents own, would not be correct. Hence no fault can be found in impugned order even on this score."
(emphasis supplied) The single Judge thereby upheld the denial of leave-to-defend to the tenant.[Para No.16]

Even If landlord has multiple premises available with him still the tenant cannot dictate to him which of the premises he may seek to get vacated
    While the ARC has clearly erred in holding that the requirement of a married daughter can never be considered while deciding the bona-fidé requirement of a landlord under section 14(1)(e) since a married daughter does not remain a member of the family, another question arises in the present case, and that is : whether in assessing the availability of suitable, alternate accommodation for the use of a married daughter, it is necessary to first assess the availability of such accommodation in the hands of the husband ; or is it permissible to assess the availability of such accommodation in the hands of the maternal family of the married daughter. In the opinion of this court, this question must be answered from the perspective of the eviction petitioner who seeks recovery of possession for the bona fidé requirement of a dependent family member. Accordingly, the availability of suitable, alternate accommodation is to be seen in the hands of the person filing the eviction petition, in this case the mother/landlady; and it is not relevant whether other relatives of the dependant family member have any alternate accommodation available. In this case, it is therefore not relevant whether the petitioner's sons-in-law have alternate accommodation or not.[Para No.17]

    Another well-settled principle that would apply to this issue is that it is not for the tenant to dictate to the landlord as to which premises may be suitable to satisfy the bona fidé requirement cited in a petition under section 14(1)(e). Reference in this regard may be made to the decision of the Supreme Court in Sait Nagjee Purushotham & Co. Ltd. vs. Vimalabai Prabhulal & Ors where, in para 4, Supreme Court has reiterated this principle in the following words:
"4. .....It is always the prerogative of the landlord that if he requires the premises in question for his bona fide use for expansion of business this is no ground to say that the landlords are already having their business at Chennai and Hyderabad therefore, it is not genuine need. It is not the tenant who can dictate the terms to the landlord and advise him what he should do and what he should not. It is always the privilege of the landlord to choose the nature of the business and the place of business..... "
(emphasis supplied) This principle was followed yet again in Anil Bajaj & Anr. vs. Vinod Ahuja , where the Supreme Court has said :
"6. ......What the tenant contends is that the landlord has several other shop houses from which he is carrying on different businesses and further that the landlord has other premises from where the business proposed from the tenanted premises can be effectively carried out. It would hardly require any reiteration of the settled principle of law that it is not for the tenant to dictate to the landlord as to how the property belonging to the landlord should be utilized by him for the purpose of his business. .... "
(emphasis supplied)[Para No.18]

    If an eviction petitioner has multiple premises available with him and, as per settled law, the tenant cannot dictate to him which of the premises he may seek to get vacated, then the question of the tenant dictating that the landlord should first utilise premises owned by the landlord's relatives, in this case the petitioner's sons-in-law, simply does not arise. In the present case, if the petitioner/landlady, being the mother, asserts that she requires the subject premises for the bona fidé requirement of her married daughters, then it is not for the tenant to say that such requirement must first be satisfied using the properties of their husbands, if any.[Para No.19]

Delhi High Court

Vidyawati Yadav
Gautam Mahajan

Decided on 21/08/2020

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