Landlord best judge of his need, says SC
In a blow to tenants, the Supreme Court has ruled that landlord is the "best judge of his need" and entitled to take possession of his premises for bonafide personal reasons though not as a ploy to evict them.
New Delhi: In a blow to tenants, the
Supreme Court has ruled that landlord is the "best judge of
his need" and entitled to take possession of his premises for
bonafide personal reasons though not as a ploy to evict them.
The apex court said that merely because the tenant is
living for several years, it does not mean that the landlord
can be compelled to manage his own requirements in a smaller
"The landlord is the best judge of his need, however,
it should be real, genuine and the need may not be a pretext
to evict the tenant only for increasing the rent.
"If the landlord wishes to live with comfort in a
house of his own, the law does not command or compel him to
squeeze himself and dwell in lesser premises so as to protect
the tenant`s continued occupation in tenancy premises," a
Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said in a
The apex court passed the judgement while allowing the
landlord Yusuf Ali to take part possession of his rented
premises from the tenant to run his own plastic goods units in
Madhya Pradesh`s Mhow town.
The Bench said that the landlord is entitled to the
possession of his premises as long as it is bonafide and is
able to convince the court that it is not a whim or fanciful
"However, the bona fide requirement of the landlord
must be distinguished from a mere whim or fanciful desire. It
must be manifested in actual need... The need should be bona
fide and not arbitrary and the requirement pleaded and proved
must neither be a pretext nor a ruse adopted by the landlord
for evicting the tenant.
"Therefore, the court must take relevant circumstances
into consideration while determining the issue of bona fide
need so that the protection afforded to a tenant is not
rendered illusory or whittled down," the apex court said
citing some of its earlier judgements.
In the instant case, Dinesh Kumar was running a shop
at the 152sq.ft premises owned by Yusuf Ali from 1978.
In 2002, a trial court ordered Kumar`s eviction on a
suit filed by Ali for bonafide personal used on the ground
that he wanted the premises for setting up his own plastic
unit business, which he was presently operating from a small
area adjoining a nala(drainage).
He had also claimed that his son Zulfiqar Ali based
in Dubai would also join him in the business.
However, the first appellate court quashed the
eviction order on the ground that Ali had no bonafide need and
it was a ruse to enhance the rent.