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Courts, tenant can’t dictate terms to landlord: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled that a landlord cannot be told either by courts or the tenant as to for what purpose the premises has to be used.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that a landlord cannot be told either by courts or the tenant as to for what purpose the premises has to be used, and requirement of house in question also need not be for "dire necessity".
The apex court passed the ruling upholding Mohd Ayub`s appeal challenging findings of the lower courts which held that the owner cannot run his business from premises occupied by the tenant as the latter was running his own photography
business for several years.

"It is for the landlord to decide which business he wants to do. The court cannot advise him. Similarly, length of tenancy of the respondent in the circumstances of the case ought not to have weighed with the courts below.

"The district court has erroneously gone on to observe that the appellants can buy another building and start business. It has also observed that the appellants had
purchased the building to make profit," a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash observed.

Though the rent control court and the district court ruled in favour of tenant Mukesh Chand who was running the shops in four rooms of Ayub, at Rs 35 per month, the Uttarnachal High Court modified the order by saying that the
owner be given at least one room back to enable his sons start a business.

"It is well settled the landlord`s requirement need not be a dire necessity. The court cannot direct the landlord to do a particular business or imagine that he could profitably do a particular business rather than the business he proposes
to start.

"It was wrong on the part of the district court to hold that the appellants` case that their sons want to start the general merchant business is a pretence because they are dealing in eggs and it is not uncommon for a Muslim family to do the business of non-vegetarian food," the bench said.

The apex court said the hardship faced by the owners in the present case by not occupying their own premises would be far greater than the hardship the tenant would suffer by having to move out to another place.

"The fact that a person has the capacity to purchase the property cannot be the sole ground against him while deciding the question of comparative hardship, Justice Ranjana writing the judgement said referring to the tenant`s plea that the
owner was financially well off to start his business elsewhere.


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