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By not exploring all aspects of a section, The District court makes an error: Bombay High Court

The Bombay high court recently passed a judgement on Wednesday, the 27th of July, of the year 2022, in which it stated that due to the court not exploring all aspects of the section 16(2) of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, the District court made an error in its judgement, and this was seen in the case of Jain Supari Centre, a Partnership Firm, through its partner Shri Shantilal Sohanlal Baid & Anr. vs. Shri Rameshlal Motilal Hasoriya & Ors. (Writ Petition No. 3134 Of 2022). This judgement was passed by The Honourable Mr. Justice Manish Pitale.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

In this case, the tenants who are the petitioners are challenging and questioning the concurrent decrees passed against them by the two Courts, that is the Small Causes Court and the District court under the provisions of Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, in which the courts directed their eviction from the suit premises.

The Landlords, who are the respondents, made the case that being the lawful owners of Municipal House in Maskasath, Nagpur, they filed a suit for eviction of the petitioners on the ground of Bonafide need. The petitioners were inducted as tenants in ground floor shop and part of first floor in the said building for commercial use in the year 1990. They were inducted by Prabhadevi Motilal Hasoriya and after her death, the respondents became lawful owners of the said property, and the tenancy was continued by executing an agreement on 01.01.2013

The respondent stated that his two younger sons having turned major were interested in starting their own business and the tenanted premises were required to start business, as it was perfectly suited for the said need. The respondent sought eviction of the petitioners from the suit premises based on this Bonafide need.

Based on the oral and documentary evidence brought on record, by judgment and order dated 10.02.2020, the Small Causes Court decreed the suit and directed the petitioners to handover vacant possession of suit premises to the respondent, within thirty days and also directed a separate enquiry to be held for future mesne profits as per Order 20 Rule 12 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Small Causes Court gave positive findings in the Respondents favour on the question of Bonafide need. It was specifically held that the respondents had succeeded in making out a case under Section 16(1)(g) of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act pertaining to bonafide need. Aggrieved by the said judgment and decree, the petitioner filed appeal under Section 34 of the said Act, before the District Court. On 06.12.2021, the District Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the decree against the petitioners.

JUDGEMENT:

The court said that while the order passed by the District Court would show a point was made on the question of greater hardship, in the reasons recorded in the judgment, the entire discussion was only with regards to the question of Bonafide need under Section 16(1)(g) of the Maharashtra rent control Act. While there is no fault in the findings there was no discussion at all on the question of comparative hardship or as to which of the contesting parties would suffer greater hardship in the context of the eviction decree.

The Court said that by failing to consider the aspects pertaining to Section 16(2) of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, the District Court committed an error in confirming the eviction decree. In the absence of any consideration as to whether both limbs of Section 16(2) of the said Act, were satisfied or not, the District Court could not have dismissed the appeal and hence due to this, the impugned judgment and order is erroneous.

The court then says the impugned judgement passed on 06.12.2021 by the district court is quashed and set aside. The same matter is remitted back to the District Court to decide the appeal made by the petitioners within 4 months after considering the question of greater hardship as contemplated under both the limbs of Section 16(2) of the said Act.

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 JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.

Click here to view the Judgement

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