A tenant can be evicted if the landlord wants to start his own business even in a field in which he or she has no prior experience, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Asok Kumar Ganguly has held that if a landlord has a bonafide need of his rented premises for starting a new business and is able to prove his claim convincingly, he cannot be denied the privilege.

It is not necessary that a person to succeed in business must have prior experience in the particular field as even a rookie can succeed, the apex court said.

“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. Hence, we are of the opinion that the High Court should have gone deeper into the question of bonafide need and not rejected it only on the ground that Giriraj (the petitioner’s son) has no experience in footwear business,” the court said.

The bench made the observation while allowing the appeal of landlord and petitioner Ram Babu Agarwal challenging the rulings of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The High Court, while interpreting Section 13(6) of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961, had concurred with the trial court’s view that the owner, a cloth merchant, could not evict the tenant Jay Kishan Das since his plea that the premises were required to enable Giriraj start a footwear business appeared to be false.

The two courts below were of the view that since the owner had an experience only in running a cloth business, his plea for taking over the premises to start footwear business did not appear to be a bonafide claim as neither he nor Giriraj had prior experience in the field.

Aggrieved Agarawal moved the apex court which rejected the reasoning of the two lower courts.

“For the reasons given above, we set aside the impugned judgements of the High Court and the trial court on the question of bonafide need and remand the matter to the trial court only to decide the issue of bonafide need afresh.

Parties may lead fresh evidence on their pleadings and the trial court shall decide the matter expeditiously thereafter.

“The appeal is allowed on the question of bonafide need only to the extent indicated above,” the bench said in its order.

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