Observing that no case was made out for suspension of rent for Japanese designer lifestyle brand Miniso during the lockdown, a Delhi court pulled up the firm Monday for non-payment of rent of their leased property, saying it had no dearth of money.
District Judge Raj Kumar Chauhan directed Miniso Life Style Pvt Ltd to pay rent to petitioners Uma Sharma, Varun Prakash and Puneet Prakash for its premises at South Delhi’s Greater Kailash. The court directed the firm to pay arrears of rent for lockdown and post-lockdown period — April, May, June and July — within a week, failing which the petitioners may take necessary action under the law.
“The respondent (Miniso Life Style) is also doing business post lockdown from tenanted premises… there is no justified reason for non-payment of rent during post lockdown period… payment of rent for the period will be strictly as per lease agreement between the parties. Petitioners are even entitled to penal interest for non-payment of rent,” the court said in its order. It, however, said the observations in the interim order were prima facie in nature and would not prejudice either party before the Arbitral Tribunal.
The court also noted that petitioner Uma was a senior citizen, and the rent was the only source of income for her and her son who was infected with Covid.
The company told the court they had sought suspension of monthly rent for the lockdown period as they were not able to use the premises. The court said the company was not entitled to seek waiver of rent under the law because there was only temporary non-use of property.
The court said it even tried to facilitate the parties to arrive at a judicial settlement, and with the persuasion of the court, the landlords (petitioners) even agreed to waive the rent for April and May provided the company pays rent due from June. “… Matter was even referred to mediation where it could not be settled,” it said.
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