Thursday, October 3, 2013

HC evicts Rs 50 per month tenant who refused Rs 1cr offer to move out

The Bombay high court has directed a Juhu tenant, the lone occupant of a dilapidated building, to vacate her flat within one month. The tenant, Esther Manickam, who has been paying a monthly rent of Rs 50 for decades, was offered Rs 1 crore by the owner to move out of old building but she had refused.

Justice Anoop Mohta refused to grant the tenant any relief against the demolition notice served by the BMC for the old building which has been declared dangerous.

"The structure if it is required to be demolished and as except Esther all have already vacated, there is no reason that the building in question (should) be repaired by the owner only to permit her to occupy one flat in question," said Justice Mohta. The judge cited earlier orders of the court that allowed "the corporation to evict occupier/owner of dilapidated building even by force".

The court said the tenant's offer to repair the premises was of "no assistance as it would cause further complications and especially when no one else is occupying the other portions". The court said it cannot direct that the building be maintained just because a lone opposing tenant wants to continue to occupy a dangerous building.

Esther, who has been staying in the Juhu flat measuring 340 square feet for decades and paying a monthly rent of Rs 50, refused to move out of the building despite the landlord's offer of Rs 1 crore.

The BMC, earlier this year, had served a demolition notice on the building which had been classified as dangerous. A report by VJTI also said that repairs were not viable for the old building. But Esther rejected the Rs 1 crore offer and insisted on a flat in a new building on the same premises. The landlord and the developer refused to give her that saying that 13 other tenants of the building had accepted the same offer.

The court said it could not overlook the expert's opinion and said that Esther's claims in her applications were "contradictory, inconsistent and in fact self destructive".

"Esther, though at her risk is occupying the premises alone and compelling the landlord/owner to maintain the whole premises/building in spite of the clear offer given to her, is unjustifiable," said the judge.

"The owner of the property is entitled to deal with the property. Even otherwise, tenants cannot object to transfer and/or even to create third-party rights or interest in such property by the landlord. The owner, therefore, if he wants to develop the property, but for want of insistence to have permanent alternate accommodation in the same premises, (and hurdles are created) to the whole project, is entitled to oppose the action of the tenant," the court said.

"The costs already incurred by paying a huge amount just cannot be overlooked merely because one tenant/occupant is opposing to develop and/or not permitting the owner to develop the property." The court added that the owner of the property cannot be compelled to give a specific offer to a tenant.

The court refused to give Esther any reprieve from the demolition proceedings and allowed her four weeks' time to vacate her flat on the condition that she files an undertaking to move out.

No comments:

Post a Comment