The Supreme Court on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on a Mumbai man for dragging a case against his landlord for 33 years despite losing at various forums.
A bench headed by CJI JS Khehar showed no sympathy to tenant Dnyandeo Sabaji Naik and directed him to vacate the premises within a week. It even warned him of heavier penalty if he filed any other application.
The CJI did not even spare tenant’s counsel and chided the senior advocate for representing his case. Naik had not vacated the premises in 2014 despite giving an undertaking before the Bombay HC. “How can you even appear for man like him,” the bench asked the lawyer who pleaded leniency for the client. “What mercy? He does not deserve any. The message must go to the public,” the bench retorted.
Naik has been occupying a shop in Dadar since 1968. According to the landlord’s counsel, Naik was given the business by his client’s father on a monthly royalty of Rs 250 from August 1, 1968. Soon, Naik started defaulting in payment of royalty. When he refused to vacate the premises, the landlord filed a suit against him in 1984 and demanded arrears of Rs 2,600 of the royalty from June 1983 to March 1984. Naik, however, set up a false claim of tenancy and claimed protection under a local law.
His plea was rejected on in 1999 and court directed Naik to vacate the premises.