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Married woman can also ask tenant to vacate: Supreme Court

February 12, 2017 05:21 pm | Updated February 13, 2017 12:50 am IST - NEW DELHI

A tenant cannot refuse to vacate a house saying his landlady is married and has her husband’s home to live in, the Supreme Court has held.

Marriage will not extinguish the landlady’s bona fide need to re-take possession of rented premises, a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi held in a 12-page judgment recently.

The case concerns eviction suit proceedings filed by Nidhi against her tenant who runs a hotel on rented premises at Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Nidhi wanted re-possession of the rented portion of her house so that she could accommodate her ailing grandparents from the village. She said she and her sisters wanted a separate room to study undisturbed.

Prolonged litigation

Her tenant Ram Kripal Sharma, through his legal heirs, countered that the family was influential and lived in a palatial house — Kath Mahal — which had huge halls and plenty of rooms.

On the other hand, the tenant said, his family survived on the earnings from the hotel. As the litigation dragged on — for 20 years, since 1987 — Nidhi and her sister got married and moved away. The fact that they were married went against them when the case reached the Allahabad High Court.

HC verdict

The High Court agreed with the tenant that there was no need to release the rented portion as Nidhi and her sister were married and lived away from the ancestral home. The court held that their “alleged need disappeared long back.”

It said Nidhi’s husband was a senior-level government servant and had a separate residential accommodation for his family.

Setting aside the High Court decision, Justice Banumathi, who wrote the verdict for the SC Bench, held that just because a woman was married it did not mean that she no longer had her own personal need for space. Merely because her husband had been allotted a government accommodation, Nidhi’s need for more space would not automatically come to an end.

Bona fide requirement

“She requires the scheduled premises for herself as well as for her parents and grandparents and her bona fide requirement has not been properly considered by the High Court,” Justice Banumathi concluded.

She ordered the tenant to vacate the rented premises within a month.

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