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Alternate accommodation for landlord alone cannot deny eviction of tenant: High court of Delhi

The presence of an alternate land that can be used for accommodation by the landlord cannot by itself be a ground for denying a suit of eviction against the tenant. This was decided in the case of Technological Institute Of Textiles And Sciences Vs. M/S Shree Nath Ji Developers [CRA 782 of 2015] in the High Court of Delhi by Hon’ble Justice Prathiba M. Singh.

The facts of the case are that the tenant has been in possession of the tenanted premises, since 1960 i.e., for more than 60 years. The Tenant claims to be a Non-Profit Organization which supports schools, colleges or other educational institutions for the development of education. The present landlord purchased the tenanted premises in 2013 and since then, has made various attempts to evict the tenant and obtain possession of the tenanted premises to open his own office.

The landlord moved an application under Section 14(1)(e) of Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 which states that ‘the eviction of the tenant is permitted for the requirement of the landlord ‘\for occupation as a residence for himself or for any member of his family dependent on him’ seeking eviction of the Tenant. Hence this present petition was filed by the tenant.

The contention of the petitioner is that the landlord (respondent here) has another 17 shops and can make use of that for his office and he does not have a bonafide ‘need’ under the aforementioned act to evict the tenant.

The counsel for landlord, however, states that he is a property developer who has purchased this property and is seeking eviction on the ground that it requires the tenanted premises for its own administrative office. Moreover, the shops that he owns are under the orders of NrDMC and cannot be used as they are either sealed or prohibited from being repaired.

The court observed that the existence on paper of an alternate address cannot mean that bona fide need of the Landlord is met. The Landlord has clearly shown on record that there are no other alternate premises available. Also, the orders of the NrDMC are clear evidence that ready availability of a premises is in doubt. For this it paid reliance of the case of Kailash Kumari & Anr. v. Shakuntala [RC RC.REV. 174/2020], where in it was held that ‘mere taking of vague pleas with respect to the availability of an alternate accommodation, without disclosing the relevant particulars, such as photographs etc., would not disentitle the Landlady therein from obtaining an order of eviction under Section 14(1)(e) of the DRC Act’

The other facts that were unnoticed by the lower courts, which were highlighted by this court, is that the tenant himself does not conduct any active business in the tenanted premises. The premises are allegedly used to store study material. On the other hand, the Landlord merely has a shop address which itself does not appear to be a habitable and usable premises, owing to the sealing by the NrDMC. Thus, the bona fide need of the Landlord is sufficiently met. For above reasons, the case was dismissed.

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