NARAYAN PERSHAD Vs. SONA BAI
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.) This Revision Petition raises a short but important point of law. It arises from an application filed on 10th June, 1958 by the respondent-landlady for eviction against the petitioner tenant. It was inter alia alleged in the petition that the tenant is a wilful defaulter and that the landlady wants the house for her own occupation. The tenant resisted the petition denying that he was ever a wilful defaulter. He also disputed the bona fide requirement of the house by the landlady for her occupation. The Rent Controller, after recording the evidence of the parties, dismissed the petition. He held that the tenant is not a wilful defaulter and that the landlady has failed to prove that she requires the house bona fide for her own occupation. The landlady, aggrieved by that order of the Rent Controller, went in appeal.
(2.) The appellate authority allowed the appeal and directed the eviction of the tenant, holding that the landlady has not proved that the tenant is a wilful defaulter. The appellate authority has, however, found that the landlady bona fide requires the premises for her own occupation. It is from this order of the appellate authority that the tenant has filed this revision petition.
(3.) The principal question to which I have to address myself is whether the landlady has made out her case in regard to her bona fide requirement of the house for her own occupation. It is not disputed that the case is governed by the Hyderabad House (Rent, Eviction and Lease) Control Act, 1954, hereinafter called the Act. Section 15, as far as it is relevant for this enquiry, is in the following terms :-
"'5- (3} (a) A landlord may, subject to the provisions of clause (d), apply to the Controller for an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the house- (i) in case it is a residential house, if the landlord requires it for his own occupation and if he is not occupying a residential house of his own in the city, town or village concerned. (e) The Controller shall, if he is satisfied that the claim of the landlord is bona fide make an order directing the tenant to put the landlord in possession of the house on such date as may be specified by the Controller and if the Controller is not so satisfied, he shall make an order rejecting the application." It is plain from the abovesaid provision that, when a landlord intends to evict a tenant, he has to satisfy the Rent Controller on three points : (1) that he requires the house, (2) that such requirement is for his own occupation and (3) that his requirement is bona fide. The word ' required ' has been interpreted in several cases. It is the duty of the Court to satisfy itself whether the landlord requires the premises for his bona fide occupation. Mere desire to occupy is not enough. On the other hand, it is also not necessary that it must be proved that if the landlord is not allowed to occupy, he will be thrown on the street. The two words " bona fide requirement " go together. They imply that it is more under the force of the landlord's personal circumstances that he is required to ask the tenant to vacate than under the impulse of a desire that the landlord needs the premises. It does not however mean that desire is altogether ruled out in that sense. ' Require ' has a subjective element in it, whereas the term bona fide possesses an objective element. The landlord may say that these are his requirements and that they must be satisfied, but the Controller who has to play an objective role must be satisfied with the facts that the requirements of the landlord are bonafide. It is always a "question'of fact and has to be judged in the circumstances of each individual case. It is difficult to precisely define the word ' requirement' . In determining the question of bonafide requirement of the landlord what has got to be generally seen is, if there is a sort of' must have ' element in the need of the landlord, and also if his want or need of the house is honestly felt by him. Thus the word ' require ' has its own meaning in the Act. Mere desire to occupy would not entitle him to get an eviction order. It is only to put an end to such an unregulated desire that the Rent Act was enacted. It requires that the common law under which the landlord was entitled to determine the tenancy subject to the terms of the contract whenever he desires must be regulated in a definite way.;
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