Bonafide Requirement / Alternative Accommodation : 14 Important Case Laws

1. Sarla Ahuja v. United India Insurance, AIR 1999 SC 100

The crux of the ground envisaged in clause (e) of Section 14(1) of the Act is that the requirement of the landlord for occupation of the tenanted premises must be bona fide. When a landlord asserts that he requires his building for his own occupation the Rent Controller shall not proceed on the presumption that the requirement is not bona fide. When other conditions of the clause are satisfied and when the landlord shows a prima facie case it is open to the Rent Controller to draw a presumption that the requirement of the landlord in bona fide. It is often said by courts that it is not for the tenant to dictate terms to the landlord as to how else he can adjust himself without getting possession of the tenanted premises. While deciding the question of bona fides of the requirement of the landlord it is quite unnecessary to make an endeavour as to how else the landlord could have adjusted himself.

2. Labhu Lal v. Sandhya Gupta, 2011 (1) RCR 231

The children are very much dependent on the landlord for the purpose of setting up their business and such a requirement is a bonafide one.

3. Shiv Sarup Gupta v. Dr. Mahesh Chand Gupta AIR 1999 SC 2507

The availability of an alternate accommodation with the landlord i.e. an accommodation other than the one in occupation of the tenant where from he is sought to be evicted has a dual relevancy. Firstly, the availability of another accommodation, suitable and convenient in all respects as the suit accommodation, may have an adverse bearing on the finding as to bonafides of the landlord if he unreasonably refuses to occupy the available premises to satisfy his alleged need. Availability of such circumstance would enable the Court drawing an inference that the need of the landlord was not a felt need or the state of mind of the landlord was not honest, sincere, and natural.

Secondly, another principal ingredient of Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 which speaks of non- availability of any other reasonably suitable residential accommodation to the landlord, would not be satisfied. Wherever another residential accommodation is shown to exist as available than the court has to ask the landlord why he is not occupying such other available accommodation to satisfy his need. The landlord may convince the court that the alternate residential accommodation though available is still of no consequence as the same is not reasonably suitable to satisfy the felt need which the landlord has succeeded in demonstrating objectively to exist. Needless to say that an alternate accommodation, to entail denial of the claim of the landlord, must be reasonably suitable, obviously in comparison with the suit accommodation wherefrom the landlord is seeking eviction. Convenience and safety of the landlord and his family members would be relevant fact. While considering the totality of the circumstances, the court may keep in view the profession or vocation of the landlord and his family members, their style of living, their habits and the background wherefrom they come.

4. Ragavendra Kumar v. Firm Prem Machinery, AIR 2000 SC 534

The plaintiff- landlord wanted eviction of the tenant from the suit premises for starting his business as it was suitable and it cannot be faulted.

5. Prativa Devi v. T.K. Krishnan, (1996) 5 SCC 353

The landlord is best judge of his requirement for residential or business purpose and he has got complete freedom in the matter.

6. Joginder Pal Singh v. Naval Kishore Behal, AIR 2002 SC 2256

The moral duty of a father/mother to help establish his/her son/daughter was also recognized by the Apex Court in in the following words :

Keeping in view the social or socio-religious milieu and practices prevalent in a particular section of society or a particular region, to which the landlord belongs, it may be obligation of the landlord to settle a person closely connected with him to make him economically independent so as to support himself and/or the landlord. To discharge such obligation the landlord may require the tenancy premises and such requirement would be the requirement of the landlord. If the requirement is of actual user of the premises by a person other than the landlord himself the Court shall with circumspection inquire :

(i) whether the requirement of such person can be considered to be the requirement of the landlord, and

(ii) whether there is a close inter-relation or identify nexus between such person and the landlord so as to satisfy the requirement of the first query.

The expression "for his own use" as occurring in Section 13(3)(a)(iii) of the Act cannot be narrowly construed. The expressions must be assigned a wider, liberal and practical meaning. The requirement is not the requirement of the landlord alone in the sense that the landlord must for himself require the accommodation and to fulfill the requirement he must himself physically occupy the premises. The requirement of a member of the family or of a person on whom the landlord is dependent or who is dependent on the landlord can be considered to be the requirement of the landlord for his own use.

7. Raghunath G. Panhale (D) thr. Lrs. v. Chagan Lal Sundarji & Co., (1999) 8 SCC 1

It will be seen that the trial court and the appellate court had clearly erred in law. They practically equated the test of "need or requirement" to be equivalent to "dire or absolute or compelling necessity". According to them, if the plaintiff had not permanently lost his job on account of the lockout or if he had not resigned his job, he could not be treated as a person without any means of livelihood, as contended by him and hence not entitled to an order for possession of the shop. This test, in our view, is not the proper test. A landlord need not lose his existing job nor resign it nor reach a level of starvation to contemplate that he must get possession of his premises for establishing a business. The manner in which the courts have gone into the meaning of "lockout" in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 appears to us to be nothing but a perverse approach to the problem. One cannot imagine that a landlord who i sin service should first resign his job and wait for the unknown and uncertain result of a long-drawn litigation. If he resigned his job, he might indeed end up in utter poverty. Joblessness is not a condition precedent for seeking to get back one's premises. For that matter assuming the landlord was in a job and had not resigned it or assuming that pending the long- drawn litigation he started some other temporary water business to sustain himself, that would not be an indication that the need for establishing a grocery shop was not a bona fide or a reasonable requirement or that it was motivated or was a mere design to evict the tenant.

8. Ram Babu Agarwal v. Jay kishan Das, 2009 (2) RCR 455

However, as regards the question of bonafide need, we find that the main ground for rejecting the landlord's petition for eviction was that in the petition the landlord had alleged that he required the premises for his son Giriraj who wanted to do footwear business in the premises in question. The High Court has held that since Giriraj has no experience in the footwear business and was only helping his father in the cloth business, hence there was no bonafide need. We are of the opinion that a person can start a new business even if he has no experience in the new business. That does not mean that his claim for starting the new business must be rejected on the ground that it is a false claim. Many people start new businesses even if they do not have experience in the new business, and sometimes they are successful in the new business also.

9. Lajpat Rai v. Raman Jain, 2012 Lawsuit (Del) 1439

The facts have been disclosed by the petitioner himself in the eviction petition; the petitioner also being a commerce graduate from the Shri Ram College of Commerce seeks an independent business of his own; thus this need to set up a business of his own cannot be in any manner be said to be imaginative or a need which is moonshine; it is a genuine need; the present petitioner having inherited this shop from his grandmother by virtue of the aforenoted Will wishes to set up his own business of rubber and latex which he was earlier carrying on with his father and in which he has gained expertise and knowledge. Thus in no manner can it be said that this need of the landlord is not a bonafide need. The landlord is the best judge of his requirement; it is not for the tenant to dictate terms to him; neither the Court tell him the manner he wishes to set up his business.

10. Anil Kumar Gupta v. Deepika Verma 

Dependency is not restricted to financial or physical but it will also include emotional reliance on another person. It is a matter of common knowledge that daughters are always dependent upon their parents even after marriage and are always emotionally attached with her parents and a relation of a mother and a daughter becomes even stronger after marriage. Moreover, in the present case, the daughter of petitioner is the only daughter of the petitioner and there is very likelihood of extreme attachment between petitioner and her daughter. It is well settled that daughter in law may be dependent on father in law or mother in law and father in law/mother in law can file the eviction petition U/S 14(1)(e) of DRC Act for the bonafide requirement of daughter in law.

In my view, when mother in law/father in law is entitled to file eviction for her or his daughter in law, an eviction petition can also be filed for bonafide requirement of daughter who is also the only daughter of the petitioner and attached to her mother.

'Family' word should be interpreted liberally and common blanket approach can be followed and the court must look at each case in the light of its own peculiar circumstances.

Customarily or in common parlance a dependent would be defined as any person who is reliant on another either for financial or physical support for sustenance of life. It is pertinent to note that the word dependent or as to what constitutes a family has nowhere been defined in the Delhi Rent Control Act. Rather, the legislators consciously and deliberately have used the words "any member of family dependent on the landlord" instead of defining a clear degree of relations so as to construe a wider meaning to the aforesaid words as man is a social creature and part of a complex societal system involving myriad of relations from which he cannot be isolated. It is significant to understand that the dependency is not restricted to financial or physical but will also include emotional reliance on another person.

11. Jhalani Tools v. B.K. Soni; AIR 1994 Delhi 167

The social set up of our society is such where a married daughter continues to enjoy a place of pride in her maternal home and therefore while considering the requirement of the landlord her married daughter and her expected visits cannot be lost sight of.

12. Sain Dass v. Madan Lal; 1972 Ren CJ (SN) 8 (Delhi)

This Court has acknowledged "the word "himself" has to be construed to mean "himself" as cohabiting with his family members with whom he is normally accustomed to live. Therefore, contrary to the submissions of the learned counsel for the petitioner financial or physical incapacitation cannot be the sole premises for determining dependency on another.

As it crystallizes from the aforesaid the word dependent cannot be constructed in a narrow and literal manner. The same have to be interpreted judiciously keeping in mind the intent of the legislators. As discussed above the words used under S.14 (1) (e), are "any member of family dependent on him" which would include the daughter in law who in the instant matter is dependent on her mother in law/landlady (respondent herein) and on account of sharing of residence both the daughter in law and the respondent are physically, emotionally and financially inter-dependent."

It is settled principle that no blanket approach can be followed and the court must look at each case in the light of its own peculiar circumstances.

13. Sunder Singh Talwar v. Kamal Chand Dugar MANU Vs DE/1400/2018 Delhi

A landlord while filing an eviction petition for bona fide need, need not specify the exact business which is proposed to be carried out from the tenanted premises for which the eviction has been sought. In fact, even if in the eviction petition a particular purpose is stated, the landlord is not bound by the said purpose and after an eviction order, can change his mind and use the premises for a different kind of business.

The landlord has not to give an elaborate description of the business or the nature of business that he seeks to carry out in the premises.

Married daughter is also dependent upon her father/mother and the eviction petition can be filed for the bonafide requirement of a daughter by the mother.

An eviction petition can be filed for the bonafide requirement of daughter of the petitioner/landlord.

14. Puran Chand Aggarwal v. Lekh Raj, 210 (2014) DLT 131

As far as business is concerned, it is not necessary that the landlord must show some evidence that he has experience of said business. That is not the requirement of law in order to file the eviction petition on the grounds of bonafide requirement.

It has next been pleaded by the petitioner that a daughter once married cannot be considered dependent upon the father for the purpose of seeking eviction of a dependent family members under the DRC Act. The contention is misplaced.

Hence, it is not a universal rule that married daughter cannot be dependent upon her father. Even otherwise in my opinion, in the present day and age it would be futile to argue that once the daughter is married she ceases to be responsibility of her father. A daughter has equal rights in the estate of the parents in case of intestate death. There can be no reason as to why the father would not like to settle his daughter in business or profession in the same way as he would like to settle his son. The plea to the contrary in the present facts is completely misplaced. It may also be noted that in the present case there is a clear and categorical averment that the daughter does not own any other property in Delhi and is dependent on the father to be settled.

The second question which arises is that even if she is a member of the family of the petitioner, the next question would arises whether she could be treated as a dependent on the petitioner for the purpose of her accommodation. Certainly, to this question also the answer prima facie should be in negative. The reason being that once the daughter of the petitioner has got married for purposes of any accommodation, she would be dependent on her husband rather on her father.

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