Allahabad High Court: Deciding the merits of a release application for eviction of a tenant filed through a power of attorney holder, the Court held that there is no express prohibition under the Rent Act debarring the owner-landlord from applying for release through power of attorney holder and that there is no illegality in signing and verifying of the application by the power of attorney holder.
The dispute related to a shop let out to the petitioner’s husband upon whose demise, the same devolved upon his petitioner wife and daughters. The owner applied for released of the shop under Section 21(1)(a) of the Rent Act, 1972 for her bona fide need to establish an Ayurveda clinic. The same was allowed by the Prescribed Authority and the appeals preferred against it were dismissed. The impugned judgment is assailed on the ground that the release application was filed by the power of attorney holder of the landlady.
Dismissing the petition, the Court observed that a reading of the release application amply demonstrates that it is an application on behalf of the owner and landlady of the shop through the power of attorney holder. The need set up in the application is also of the owner landlady and it is not for any personal right or interest of the power of attorney holder. Relying on various decisions, the Court observed that, when a power of attorney holder is authorised to file a writ petition in the name of the principal the inference is clear that he can also file a release application under Section 21(1)(a) of the Rent Act on behalf of the principal owner-landlord as there is no specific prohibition. Section 21 of the Rent Act envisages an application of the landlord for eviction of a tenant if the premises is bona fide required by him for occupation by him or any member of his family. In view of the above, the application for release has to be an application by the landlord for bona fide need of himself or any member of his family. In such circumstances, the need cannot be of anyone else, much less that of the agent or the power of attorney holder.
The Court observed that the release application in the case at hand had been filed in the name of the owner-landlady through the power of attorney holder. It has been signed and verified by the power of attorney holder on behalf of the owner landlady who by her own affidavit has accepted that the release application has been filed on her behalf through the power of attorney holder and that she reiterated and verified the contents of the release application. In view of the above, there is no illegality in signing and verifying the release application by the power of attorney holder as contemplated by Rule 14 Order 6 of the Civil Procedure Code referred to in Rule 15 of the Rules framed under the Rent Act.
The Supreme Court in M.M. Quasim v. Manohar Lal Sharma, (1981) 3 SCC 36 held that the word ‘landlord’ may include a person who is receiving or is entitled to receive rent, but for the purposes of claiming possession on the ground of bona fide need he must show that he is the landlord in the sense that he is the owner of the building and has a right to occupy it in his own right. A mere rent collector may not be sufficient for such an application. The Court observed that the definition of the “landlord” in the rent enactments is of wide amplitude which not only covers the owner of the property who has the right to occupy it but also the person receiving or collecting rent on his behalf. But for the purposes of release of the property from the tenant the word “landlord” was interpreted in a narrower sense excluding the rent collector and confining it to the owner of the property.
[Rashmi Bhatiya v. Geeta Sharma, 2016 SCC OnLine All 617, decided on August 5, 2016]