Don’t separate landlord’s family to save tenant,says HC

Overturns joint district judge order,allows termination of tenancy agreement.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Published:May 21, 2013 3:58 am

Bombay High Court (HC) recently reversed an order of a joint district judge who had directed a woman in 2002 to separate her family of six instead of evicting a tenant for paucity of space.

Sudha Barve of Thane (West) lived in a 300-sq-ft flat on the first floor of Shrikripa Building with her widowed daughter,son,daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

On June 22,1994,she terminated the tenancy agreement of Ranjana Padhye who occupied her 650-sq-ft flat on the ground floor.

Padhye contested saying she had carried forward the agreement after her husband died in December 1993. The husband had rented the premises in March 1974 for Rs 160 a month.

A joint civil judge ruled in favour of Barve in July 1994. Padhya challenged the order before the joint district judge who held that Barve’s daughter-in-law had a 540-sq-ft flat in Badlapur and she could shift there with her husband and children.

He said if Padhye was ousted,she would be “thrown out on the road”.

Barve,however,contended before HC that the lower court had not taken into account that Padhye owned a building in Dombivali.

Setting aside the joint district judge’s order,justice B R Gavai said,“The learned appellate court wants the plaintiff’s family to be separated,some members to reside in Thane and others in Badlapur,when they have a house of their own in Thane. It is to be noted that Dombivali is a much better location as compared to Badlapur. It is difficult to understand how the plaintiff landlady’s family be directed to be separated and the defendent-tenant be permitted to reside in the tenanted premises,when on own admission of the defendant she owns a building in Dombivali.”

While the proceedings were pending in HC,Barve passed away but her daughter Rekha continued the legal battle. She contended that Padhye was running a creche in a residential premises and the society had complained against it.

Moreover,Rekha suffered from serious arthritis and could not climb and owing to paucity of accommodation,Barve’s grandchildren were unable to get married.

“It is a growing family and as such,requirement (of space) cannot be said to be fanciful,” the court said.

mayura.janwalkar@expressindia.com

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