Tenants no longer have-nots, says SC
Scrapping one of the provisions of the Delhi Rent (Control) Act, 1958, the Supreme Court has said tenants occupying commercial premises in the city are not have-nots.
Almost 13 years after the Parliament enacted the Delhi Rent (Control) Act, 1995, to substitute the archaic law of 1958, a bench of Justices BN Aggarwal and GS Singhvi on Wednesday, declared Section 14 (1) (e) of the Act as unconstitutional because it gave undue advantage to tenants occupying commercial property in the Capital.
As per the Act, the landlord could not evict tenant from his property let out for commercial use citing personal requirement.
However, the same ground was applicable in case of residential properties. The court said it was important to declare the provision illegal in wake of substantial increase in availability of commercial and non-residential premises in Delhi.
The judges concluded that tenants, for whose benefit the 1958 Act was implemented, have earned huge wealth in different trades, occupation, business and similar ventures.
Referring to an earlier judgment, the bench added the court then felt that if restrictions are not imposed on landlords, those uprooted from Pakistan might never get settled in life. Delhi Rent (Control) Act, 1958, was enacted to benefit refugees from Pakistan and to ensure a medium of livelihood for them.
“During this long span of time much water has flown down the Ganges. Those who came from west Pakistan as refugees and even their next generations have settled in different parts of the country, particularly in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and surrounding areas,”said the court and dismissed the contention of the Central Government that it should not attempt to rewrite Section 14 (1) (e) of the Act.
It added, “They are occupying prime positions in political and bureaucratic set up of the government and have earned huge wealth in different trades, occupation, business and similar ventures.”