Landlord cannot be non-suited due to mere non-examination of family member who intends to do business in the rented premises

Supreme Court: Deciding a short question of law as to whether the requirement of the landlord for own occupation could also mean occupation by a member of the family, the bench of Kurian Joseph and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ said that mere non-examination of the family member who intends to do the business cannot be taken as a ground for repelling the reasonable requirement of the landlord.

According to the J&K High Court, the appellant has failed to establish her reasonable requirement for own occupation as per Section 11(1)(h) of the Jammu and Kashmir Houses and Shop Rent Control Act, 1966. Having not examined the son who intends to do the business, the requirement of own occupation was not established.

In the present case, the landlord was not happy and content with the paltry rent received from the premises and intended to engage her unemployed and uneducated son in the business at the premises. Considering the facts of the case, the Court said that the eviction is not sought on the last limb of Section 11(1)(h) of the Act namely, “for the occupation of any person for whose benefit the house or shop is held”. The premises sought to be evicted is not held for the benefit of the son alone; but the whole family. It is for the own occupation of the landlord and it is for the landlord to decide as to the best use the premises should be put to.

The Court said that the reasonable requirement by the landlord of the premises would depend on whether the landlord has been able to establish a genuine element of need for the premises which would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Merely because the landlord has not examined the member of the family who intends to do business in the premises, he cannot be non-suited in case he has otherwise established a genuine need. [Mehmooda Gulshan v. Javaid Hussain Mungloo, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 143, decided on 17.02.2017]

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