Provisions prescribing procedure for determination of standard rent in HP Urban Rent Control Act, 1987 held unconstitutional

Himachal Pradesh High Court: While dealing with the issue relating to the constitutionality of certain provisions of Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987, the bench comprising of Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Mir CJ and Tarlok Singh Chauhan J., held Section 4 of the Amended Act which prescribes the procedure for determination of standard rent and Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 30 (2) insofar as they are dependent upon standard rent as contemplated and determined under Section 4 other than the agreed rent are struck down and declared unconstitutional. Similarly, Section 14 (3) (c) of the Act insofar as it provides for the right of re-entry to the tenant is upheld, while the remaining portion of the proviso being unreasonable is also struck down.

In the present case, the petitioner has averred that he is a co-owner of various properties in Shimla Town and elsewhere which he has inherited from his ancestors. These prime properties are situated in the best localities of the Town, but are occupied by the tenants inducted by his predecessor-in-interest. However, with the passage of time a number of tenants have left Shimla, but have not handed over the vacant possession of the tenanted premises and have rather locked the same. As a result, the petitioner has virtually been deprived of his properties by the tenants and this has been made possible by the provisions of East Punjab Urban Rent Control Act, 1971 and thereafter by the provisions of the H.P. Urban Rent Control Act, 1987, as amended by Act No. 8 of 2012.

The Court after hearing arguments advanced by the Counsels held that that in absence of there being proper norms and guidelines, the procedure as currently provided for determination of standard rent under Section 4 of the Act, is not founded on any intelligible differentia and even otherwise has no rational relation to the object sought to be achieved and it further fails to pass the test of  reasonableness and being violative of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution of India is thus liable to be struck down as being unconstitutional. The Court also held Sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 30 (2) insofar as they are dependent upon standard rent as contemplated and determined under Section 4 other than the agreed rent as unconstitutional. Similarly, Section 14 (3) (c) of the Act insofar as it provides for the right of re-entry to the tenant is upheld, while the remaining portion of the proviso being unreasonable is also struck down. Chaman Lal Bali v. State of Himachal Pradesh 2016 SCC OnLine HP 1342, decided on August 2, 2016]

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