Tenants, courts can’t interfere in landlord’s requirements’

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) In a far-reaching ruling that will have impact on the contentious owner-tenant relationship, a court here has held that “neither the tenant nor the court can interfere over the requirements of a landlord” while granting the rights over her ground floor property to a senior citizen unable to climb the stairs.

Administrative Civil Judge-cum-Additional Rent Controller (Central) Judge Sandeep Garg allowed Vimla Rani’s plea seeking right over her rented out ground floor property in Chandni Chowk for using it to house her elderly mother-in-law. The mother-in-law, Ram Kali, 78, suffers from osteoporosis, besides acute knee pain and other age-related ailments. She was advised by her doctor to avoid squatting and climbing stairs.

Rani resides with her mother-in-law, husband and two children on the first floor of the said property.

Observing that the woman has no other alternative accommodation and her mother-in-law was suffering because of having to climb to their first floor flat, the court asked her tenant, Sanat Kumar, who has been living in the premises for the past 36 years at a monthly rent of Rs. 110 and running a jewellery shop, to vacate.

Kumar, in his defence, claimed that the small shop is not fit for human habitation as there was no bathroom and toilet. Rani denied this.

“It is no longer res integra (untouched point) that a landlord is the best judge of his requirements and neither the tenant, nor the court can sit on the judgment of the landlord in respect of his requirement,” the court said.

The court said that it was for the petitioner (Rani) and her mother-in-law to examine and evaluate how she will be able to use the tenanted room/shop for her residential purposes in the absence of a toilet.

Kumar has also suggested Kali’s knee-replacement surgery.

“…the respondent (Kumar) cannot be permitted to suggest that the mother-in-law of the petitioner can undergo knee replacement surgery which costs only Rs.1.5 lakh after which a person can walk smoothly,” the court said.

It held that Rani has been successful in prima facie establishing that she requires the tenanted shop for use by her mother-in-law for residential purposes.

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