Wednesday 26 August 2020

Bombay HC: Basic principles which court should follow while declaring any one member of the family as a tenant

Accommodation is a serious problem facing people. Practically in every tenanted premises along with the tenant scores of other relatives reside. After the death of the tenant there is always an attempt to claim tenancy rights in the suit premises with the help of Section 5(11)(c) of the Rent Act. It is, therefore, for the court to find out who really can get the benefit of Section 5(11)(c). For this the court has to take into consideration various factors such as who was accepted as a tenant by the landlord, whether other members who are putting up a claim had accepted that person as a tenant or whether they had resisted the claim of that person to tenancy at any time, and in some cases wishes of the deceased tenant. In this connection it is necessary to quote the relevant observations of this court in Gool Rustomji's case (supra);

"Whenever persons who are members of the tenant's family start a scramble for the tenancy rights, in a sense the war of succession begins. Succession to the property of the deceased is generally decided by applying the rules of succession forming part of the personal law of the parties. But the law of succession is substantially modified while resolving the disputes which arise after the death of the tenant, whether statutory or contractual. If the several members, who are residing as members of the tenant's family, fail to come to an agreement, then the Court has to make the choice and declare that one amongst them will be the tenant for claiming the protection of the Rent Act. The Court will have to take into account several relevant factors including the wishes of the deceased tenant. In all such cases the Court should have regard to the paramount collective interest of the family of the deceased tenant. The Court should make the choice in such a way that the person selected to be the tenant is likely to act in the interest of the family, like the Karta of a Hindu joint family or the paterfamilias. If the Court has in mind such considerations then it is likely that the Court will select the right person for looking after the collective interest of the tenant's family after his death. In any event the Court cannot declare more than one person as the tenant under Section 5(11)(c) of the Rent Act."{Para 12}


Writ Petition No. 2311 of 1991

Decided On: 19.06.2003

Vimalabai Keshav Gokhale Vs.  Avinash Krishnaji Biniwale and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Ranjana Prakash Desai, J.

Citation: MANU/MH/0343/2003.
Read full judgment here: Click here
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