Tenant can't take refuge under law to prolong stay: SC

The matter travelled upto the High Court wherein a division bench held in view of Section 14(3) of the Act.
Last Updated : 13 July 2023, 12:16 IST

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The Supreme Court has said that a tenant can't take refuge under initial restriction put in the law in filing an eviction suit against him to prolong his stay on the tenanted premises as this would defeat the very purpose of the provision meant to safeguard his interest.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah allowed an appeal filed by Ravi Khandelwal against his tenant M/s Taluka Stores and directed the respondent to hand over vacant and physical possession of the tenanted premises at Jaipur by September 30, 2023, after noting extra ordinary fact that dispute spanned 38 years.

Appellant Khandelwal, who purchased the property, on January 30, 1985, sought eviction of the tenant on bona fide necessity.

But the suit was dismissed in 2002 as plaint was filed within five years of letting out the premises, which was proscribed under Section 14(3) of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950.

The matter travelled upto the High Court wherein a division bench held in view of Section 14(3) of the Act, there was a complete bar to the filing of the suit within five years of tenancy.

In its decision, the top court's bench said, "We opine that this passage of time beyond the period of five years would wash away the initial impediment against the suit. We cannot lose sight of the fact that we stare at a factual scenario where the vagaries of litigation have prolonged the suit proceedings for a period of 38 years."

The court rejected a plea by the tenant that the appellant should be asked to file a fresh suit.

"Perhaps their confidence stems from the fact that if the tenant has already been able to prolong the proceedings for 38 years, a similar scenario would again follow," it said.

"We are not able to countenance such an interpretation which would defeat the very purpose of creating an initial restriction on the filing of the suit. To say that the landlord should now, once again, restart the proceedings because the initial period of five years had not elapsed would be a travesty of justice," the bench said.

It also noted the previous Act itself has been replaced with the Rajasthan Rent Control Act, 2001, which does not create any similar bar.

"It would be a mockery of justice to make the parties to go through another round in the second appeal. Thus, we are of the view that a quietus should be put to this prolonged dispute spanning 38 years, on something as simple as tenancy issue. We are also armed with the extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution of India to do absolute justice inter se the parties," the bench said.

Published 13 July 2023, 12:16 IST

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