SHANTI DEVI Vs. SWAMI ASHANAND
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
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R. C. Lahoti, J. -
(1.)The suit premises is part of a building situated in the pilgrimage city of Haridwar. The building was in occupation of four sets of tenants occupying different portions. Swami Ashanand, the respondent No. 1, who is admittedly the landlord-owner, initiated proceedings for eviction against all the tenants on the ground available under Section 21(1)(a) of the U. P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. The eviction was ordered against all the tenants. Three tenants have given up the possession over the premises in their occupation to the landlord-respondent. One of the tenants, namely Sheel Chandra, who has also expired during the pendency of these proceedings and whose widow and two sons are respectively the two appellants and pro forma respondent No. 3, are pursuing the proceedings. The appellate authority has dismissed their appeal and the High Court too has dismissed their writ petition. This appeal is by special leave.
(2.)The case pleaded by the respondent No. 1 and which has been found proved by all the three Courts is that he is a sanyasi. His object in life is to preach religion and perform religious rites. He used to roam at different places. Of late, his health has gone fragile and, therefore, he proposes to stay permanently at Haridwar and live in the premises in question. The building is proposed to be materially altered by reconstructing so as to construct, along with residence, a temple wherein idol of Lord Krishnaji and Lord Shivji Maharaj, whom the respondent worships, shall be seated. There would be a satsang hall where the respondent No. 1 would be delivering sermons. There would be a puja room and a store room and a shringar room for the use of the deity. The guests coming from outside would stay in the newly constructed premises. Incidentally, he would also earn his livelihood from the offerings received from devotees.
(3.)During the pendency of the appeal, the respondent has also created a religious trust though the deed of trust does not speak of the suit premises as having been vested in the trust. The trust deed merely reaffirms the respondents resolution for religious activities as proposed.
Section 21(1)(a) provides as under :-
"21. Proceedings for release of building under occupation of tenant.- (1) The prescribed authority may on an application of the landlord in that behalf, order the eviction of a tenant from the building under tenancy or any specified part thereof if it is satisfied that any of the following grounds exists namely
(a) that the building is bona fide required either in its existing form or after demolition and new construction by the landlord for occupation by himself or any member of his family, or any person for whose benefit it is held by him, either for residential purposes or for purposes of any profession, trade or calling, or where the landlord is the trustee of a public charitable trust, for the objects of the trust."
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