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Supreme Court`s ruling on eviction of tenants

A tenant cannot be evicted if the original owners, for whose bonafide personal needs the rented premises is sought, subsequently die during pendency of the dispute, the Supreme Court has held.

New Delhi: A tenant cannot be evicted if
the original owners, for whose bonafide personal needs the
rented premises is sought, subsequently die during pendency of
the dispute, the Supreme Court has held.

"While it is true that the right to relief must be
judged by reference to the date, suit or the legal proceedings
were instituted, it is equally true that if subsequent to the
filing of the suit, certain developments take place that have
a bearing on the right to relief claimed by a party, such
subsequent events cannot be shut out from consideration.

"What the court in such a situation is expected to do
is to examine the impact of the said subsequent development on
the right to relief claimed by a party and, if necessary,
mould the relief suitably so that the same is tailored to the
situation that obtains on the date the relief is actually
granted," a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing
the appeal filed by three married daughters of a deceased
couple who sought eviction of the tenant M/s Chelur
Corporation from a rented premises of 5,000 sq yds in Kerala`s
Cochin district.

Original owners K Sachindanda Iyer and his wife A
Sheshambal Sachindanda Iyer had in 1986 sought eviction of the
tenant pleading they required the premises for bonafide
personal use. The tenant opposed the plea saying it would put
them to financial loss and their business would be affected.

The Rent Control Court, Ernakulum, had dismissed the
owners` plea after holding the couple had alternative houses
at Ernakulam and other places.

The case meandered through the appellate court and the
Kerala High Court for over two decades during which both the
courts ruled against the original owners. K Sachindanda Iyer
died on April 24, 1996, during pendency of the suit in the
High Court and Sheshambal died during the appeal pending in
the apex court.

After the death of the couple, their three married
daughters continued the case as legal heirs for eviction of
the tenant.

Rejecting the daughter`s plea, the apex court said "the
requirement pleaded in the eviction petition by the
original petitioners was their own personal requirement and
not the requirement of the members of their family whether
dependant or otherwise.

"Indeed, if the deceased landlords had any dependant
members of the family, we may have even in the absence of a
pleading assumed that the requirement pleaded extended also to
the dependant members of their family," the bench said.

The apex court said the need for bonafide personal need
of the original owners no longer existed as they died and two
of the daughters are living in India and one in Coimbatore and
Bihar while the third daughter is settled in America.

"Even otherwise, in the social milieu to which we are
accustomed, daughters happily married have their own families
and commitments financial and otherwise.

"Such being the position, we find it difficult to see how
the legal representatives of the deceased-appellant can be
allowed to set up a case which was never set up before the
courts below so as to bring forth a requirement that was never
pleaded at any stage of the proceedings," the apex court said
while dismissing the appeal of the daughters.


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