Pratap Rai Tanwani and Anr
Vs. Uttam Chand and Anr  Insc 522 (8 September 2004)
Arijit Pasayat & Prakash
The tenants are in appeal against the impugned judgment of
the VIIth Civil Judge No. 2,Bhopal, M.P., the first Appellate Court, and
finally the judgment of affirmation by learned Single Judge of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur. Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:
A suit for eviction was filed before the trial court under Section 12 (1)(a)(b)
and (f) of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1961 (in short the
'Act'). The plaintiffs filed the suit on the ground that (a)there was default
in payments of the rent due, (b)the tenant (defendant No. 1) had unlawfully
sublet the tenanted premises and (c) for bona fide requirement. The trial court
framed, in total, 13 issues and held that the need of the plaintiffs, so far as
the suit premises are concerned, was genuine and bona fide. It was also held
that the plaintiffs had not got other suitable accommodation available and the
defendant No. 1 had sublet the premises to defendant No. 2. The suit was
In appeal the Appellate Authority held that the plea of subletting was not
established. However, the finding regarding bona fide need was affirmed by the
First Appellate Court. In Second Appeal the judgments of the courts below, so
far as it was adverse to the appellant, were affirmed. Tenants filed an
application in terms of Order 41, Rule 27 of the Civil Procedure Code 1908 (in
short the 'CPC'). Another application for amendment of the Written Statement
was also filed. By these two applications the appellants wanted to highlight
the alleged factual position that during the pendency of the matter Naresh Talreja
son of the appellant No. 1, Uttam Chand (respondent No.1 herein) had acquired a
degree in Engineering, got an employment in an Indian Company and subsequently
was settled in USA and was working there, with no chance of his coming back to
Therefore it was submitted that the alleged bona fide need and requirement,
for which the application was filed, had become non- existent, thereby
disentitling the plaintiffs from any relief.
The present respondents refuted the claim of the appellants and submitted
that since there was no other accommodation readily available Naresh Talreja
pursued study in Engineering and was temporarily engaged in USA. He wanted to
come back and start his business.
The High Court found that the requirements of Section 12(1)(f) of the Act
were fully complied with and in view of concurrent findings recorded to the
effect that there was bona fide need of the premises, Second Appeal had no
merit. Accordingly the High Court dismissed the Second appeal. Time was granted
till the end of August, 2002 to vacate the premises.
In support of the appeal, Mr. Raju Ramachandran, learned Senior counsel
submitted that the High Court has lightly set aside the subsequent events. It
is a settled position in law that the question whether a person has bona fide
need, was not restricted to the point of time when the application for eviction
is made; it continues till final adjudication. On the facts of the case the
High Court has erroneously come to the conclusion that the need subsisted.
Per contra, learned counsel for the respondents submitted that a person, for
whose bona fide need the premises are required, cannot just remain idle in
anticipation of getting the premises for starting business. As there was delay
in disposal of the matter, Naresh completed his studies and had taken temporary
employment with visa for limited period and intended to come back to India as
soon as premises are available to start the business. In any event, it was
pointed out if there was non-user of the premises for the purpose for which eviction
was sought for, the concerned tenant has protection in terms of Section 17 of
It is a stark reality that the longer is the life of the litigation the more
would be the number of developments sprouting up during the long interregnum.
If a young entrepreneur decides to launch a new enterprise and on that ground
he or his father seeks eviction of a tenant from the building, the proposed
enterprise would not get faded out by subsequent developments during the
traditional lengthy longevity of the litigation. His need may get dusted,
patina might stick on its surface, nonetheless the need would remain intact.
All that is needed is to erase the patina and see the gloss. It is pernicious,
and we may say, unjust to shut the door before an applicant just on the eve of
his reaching the finale after passing through all the previous levels of the
litigation merely on the ground that certain developments occurred pendente lite,
because the opposite party succeeded in prolonging the matter for such unduly
We cannot forget that while considering the bona fides of the need of the
landlord the crucial date is the date of petition. In Ramesh Kumar v. Kesho Ram
( 1992 (Suppl. (2) SCC 623) a two-judge Bench of this Court (M.N. Venkatachalia,
J., as he then was, and N.M.
Kasliwal, J.) pointed out that the normal rule is that rights and
obligations of the parties are to be determined as they were when the lis
commenced and the only exception is that the court is not precluded from moulding
the reliefs appropriately in consideration of subsequent events provided such
events had an impact on those rights and obligations. What the learned Chief
Justice observed therein is this (SCC pp. 626-27, para 6) "6. The normal
rule is that in any litigation the rights and obligations of the parties are
adjudicated upon as they obtain at the commencement of the lis. But this is
subject to an exception.
Wherever subsequent events of fact or law which have a material bearing on
the entitlement of the parties to relief or on aspects which bear on the moulding
of the relief occur, the court is not precluded from taking a 'cautious
cognizance' of the subsequent changes of fact and law to mould the
relief." The next three-Judge Bench of this Court which approved and
followed the above decision, in Hasmat Rai v. Raghunath Prasad (1981 (3) SCC
103) has taken care to emphasise that the subsequent events should have
"wholly satisfied" the requirement of the party who petitioned for
eviction on the ground of personal requirement. The relevant passage is
extracted below : ( SCC pp. 113-14, para 14) "Therefore, it is now
incontrovertible that where possession is sought for personal requirement it
would be correct to say that the requirement pleaded by the landlord must not
only exist on the date of the action but must subsist till the final decree or
an order for eviction is made. If in the meantime events have cropped up which
would show that the landlord's requirement is wholly satisfied then in that
case his action must fail and in such a situation it is incorrect to say that
as decree or order for eviction is passed against the tenant he cannot invite
the court to take into consideration subsequent events." The judicial
tardiness, for which unfortunately our system has acquired notoriety, causes
the lis to creep through the line for long long years from the start to the
ultimate termini, is a malady afflicting the system. During this long interval
many many events are bound to take place which might happen in relation to the
parties as well as the subject-matter of the lis. If the cause of action is to
be submerged in such subsequent events on account of the malady of the system
it shatters the confidence of the litigant, despite the impairment already
The above position in law was highlighted in Gaya Prasad vs.
Pradeep Srivastava (2001(2) SCC 604).
One of the grounds for eviction contemplated by all the rent control
legislations, which otherwise generally lean heavily in favour of the tenants,
is the need of the owner landlord to have his own premises, residential or
non-residential, for his own use or his own occupation. The expressions
employed by different legislations may vary such as "bona fide
requirement", "genuine need", "requires reasonably and in
good faith", and so on. Whatever be the expression employed, the
underlying legislative intent is one and that has been demonstrated in several
judicial pronouncements of which we would like to refer to only three.
In Ram Dass v. Ishwar Chander ( 1988 (3) SCC 131) M.N.
Venkatachaliah, J. (as His Lordship then was ) speaking for the three- Judge
Bench, said: (SCC pp. 134-35, para 11) "11. Statutes enacted to afford
protection to tenants from eviction on the basis of contractual rights of the
parties make the resumption of possession by the landlord subject to the
satisfaction of certain statutory conditions. One of them is the bona fide
requirement of the landlord, variously described in the statutes as 'bona fide
requirement', 'reasonable requirement', 'bona fide and reasonable requirement'
or, as in the case of the present statute, merely referred to as 'landlord
requires for his own use'. But the essential idea basic to all such cases is
that the need of the landlord should be genuine and honest, conceived in good
faith; and that, further, the court must also consider it reasonable to gratify
Landlord's desire for possession, however honest it might otherwise be, 'requirement'
in law must have the objective element of a 'need'. It must also be such that
the court considers it reasonable and therefore, eligible to be gratified. In
doing so, the court must take all relevant circumstances into consideration so
that the protection afforded by law to the tenant is not rendered merely
illusory or whittled down." In Gulabbai vs. Nalin Narsi Vohra ( 1991 (3)
SCC 483) reiterating the view taken in Bega Begum vs. Abdul Ahad Khan ( 1979
(1) SCC 273) it was held that the words "reasonable requirement"
undoubtedly postulate that there must be an element of need as opposed to a
mere desire or wish. The distinction between desire and need should doubtless
be kept in mind but not so as to make even the genuine need as nothing but a
Recently, in Shiv Sarup Gupta vs. Dr. Mahesh Chand Gupta (1999 (6) SCC 222)
this Court in a detailed judgment, dealing with this aspect, analysed the
concept of bona fide requirement and said that the requirement in the sense of
felt need which is an outcome of a sincere, honest desire, in contradistinction
with a mere pretence or pretext to evict a tenant refers to a state of mind
prevailing with the landlord.
The only way of peeping into the mind of the landlord is an exercise
undertaken by the judge of facts by placing himself in the armchair of the
landlord and then posing a question to himself whether in the given facts,
substantiated by the landlord, the need to occupy the premises can be said to
be natural, real, sincere, honest. If the answer be in the positive, the need
is bona fide. We do not think that we can usefully add anything to the
exposition of law of requirement for self-occupation than what has been already
stated in the three precedents.
The above position was remained effected in Atma S. Berar vs.
Mukhtiar Singh ( 2003 (2) SCC 3 ):
In the background of the factual position one thing which clearly emerges is
that the High Court had considered the subsequent events which the appellants
highlighted and tend to hold that the bona fide need continues to subsist. As
observed in Hasmat Rai's case (supra) the appellate Court is required to
examine, evaluate and adjudicate the subsequent events and their effect. This
has been done in the instant case. That factual finding does not suffer from
any infirmity. What the appellants have highlighted as subsequent events fall
within the realm of possibility or probability of non-return and a certainty,
which is necessary to be established to show that the need has been eclipsed.
At this juncture it would be appropriate to take note of Section 17 of the
Act. Same deals with consequences which statutorily follow if there is
deviation from the purposes for which possession has been recovered. If in the
instant case such contingency arises, the respondents shall re-deliver
possession to the appellants-tenants on such terms as the Rent Controlling
Authority shall fix.
Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that considering the long
period of tenancy a reasonable time should be granted to the appellant to
vacate the premises.
Learned counsel for the respondents submitted that the High Court has
granted time till the end of August, 2002 and by order dated 9th August, 2002 status quo regarding possession was directed to be maintained. Undisputedly the
tenants are in occupation of the tenanted premises.
Considering the fact that the tenants are occupying the premises for nearly
two decades, in our considered view the time granted by the High Court can be
extended till the end of 2005. The period of tenancy is extended till the
aforesaid date subject to the appellants' filing the requisite undertaking
before the trial court and make continuing to payment of rents due within the
Arrears, if any, shall be paid to the respondents within the period of two
months from today.
The appeal stands dismissed subject to the aforesaid directions with no
orders as to costs.