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Nidhi v. Ram Kripal Sharma (D) thr. L.Rs. - (Supreme Court) (07 Feb 2017)

Court has to consider effect of subsequent development on bona fide need of landlord



Instant appeal by way of special leave is preferred against order passed by High Court wherein High Court affirmed order passed by Additional District Judge, Moradabad, thereby setting aside release order passed by Prescribed Authority. The point falling for consideration is whether marriage of Appellant/landlady as subsequent event can extinguish bona fide requirement of a landlady and disentitle her for relief sought in release application filed prior to her marriage. Appellant is owner and landlord of premises in question, which is a non-residential accommodation. Appellant alleged that she is in need of premises as Appellant wants to accommodate her grandparents in demised house who live in village and are in need of care and medical treatment. Moreover, Appellant alleged that she and her younger sister required separate room for study. It was further alleged by the Appellant that the Respondent's main business is that of a sweet shop and he has sufficient means to take some other place on rent to run his hotel business.

Landlord of rented property is entitled to the vacant possession of his rented premises in event of his bona fide requirement of said premises for his own residential or professional requirements or for any person related to him. In facts of present case, change in subsequent events is not such that would deprive Appellant of her right to vacant possession of suit premises as it is a natural event that, daughter of house would get married and settle with her husband. Though Appellant has got married and shifted to different accommodation with her husband, actual bona fide requirement of premises is still the same, since her parents and grandparents are still residing separately from each other with no one to look after them. Appellant got married but family stays where it is and bona fide requirement of premises for accommodation of parents remains the same. Being married and shifting to other place does not automatically result in extinguishing of bona fide requirement of Appellant as being the owner of property, she alone is to decide what she wants to do with her property.

Legislations made for dealing with such landlord-tenant disputes were pro-tenant as court tends to bend towards tenant in order to do justice with the tenant; but in process of doing justice, Court cannot be over zealous and forget its duty towards the landlord also as ultimately, it is landlord who owns the property and is entitled to possession of the same when he proves his bona fide beyond reasonable doubt as it is in the case before this Court. Ordinarily, rights of parties stand crystallised on date of institution of the suit. However, court has power to take note of subsequent events and mould the relief accordingly.

Though Court has the power to take note of subsequent events, court has to consider effect of subsequent development on bona fide need of landlord. For purpose of coming to conclusion on bona fide need of landlord, comparative hardship to parties will have to be taken into consideration. In present case, Appellant got married during pendency of appeal and settled with her husband; still her requirement to accommodate her parents and grandparents continued. Appellant has established her bona fide requirement for accommodating her parents and grandparents in the suit premises merely because the Appellant got married amidst the proceedings does not extinguish her claim for the relief of possession of the suit premises. Subsequent event, namely, marriage of Appellant does not extinguish her requirement considering comparative hardship, it is to be pointed out that Respondents have another business of sweet shop and thus, is not going to suffer if ordered to vacate suit premises as they can shift place of business to some other place without suffering any loss of occupation, whereas parents of Appellant would be subjected to hardship as she has no other premises to accommodate her grandparents as well as her parents. While taking note of subsequent events, High Court has not considered comparative hardship to Appellant and erred in declining relief to Appellant.

Supreme Court allowed the appeal set aside impugned order of High Court and order passed by prescribed authority i.e. Court of Second Upper Civil Judge, restored.

Relevant : Om Prakash Gupta v. Ranbir B. Goyal: (2002) 2 SCC; MANU/SC/0035/2002


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