Report No. 70
Compensation for Harassment of Lessee
Section 113A (New)
99.1. Need for provision as to harassment.-
Before proceeding to the next section, we would like to refer to the need for a provision in the Act as to the harassment of tenants by landlords. At the time when the Act was passed-and for a long time thereafter-economic conditions did not create any such situation as would induce the lessor or the lessee to take the law into his own hands.
The Act therefore proceeds on the assumption that whatever be the nature of the dispute as to the rights of the parties, such disputes will be settled before courts properly constituted and that no extra judicial means will be resorted to unilaterally by the parties to precipitate the matter. Conditions have, in certain respects, changed. Occasionally, circumstances arise where one of the parties, disregarding the scheme of the Act and the implicit assumptions of the legal system, attempts to take private means to force the other party to surrender his rights or to compromise them.
99.2. Reasons for amendment.-
We have, at the moment, in mind the harassment sometimes resorted to by landlords in order to force the tenants to increase the rent or to vacate the premises. Some provisions on the subject, of course, are found in Rent Control legislation, but it seems to deal with important matter on an all India basis. While it would be inappropriate to include, in the Transfer of property Act, any penal provision on the subject, it would be proper to allow compensation for nuisances or other illegal acts calculated to interfere with the peace or comfort of the lessee or members of his household, or for withdrawing or withholding services reasonably required for the occupation of the lease premises.
99.3. New section 113A.-
In the light of the above discussion, we recommend a new section to be inserted as section 113A, as follows:
"113A. If the lessor, with intent to cause the lessee of any premises-
(a) to give up the occupation of the premises or any part thereof; or
(b) to refrain from exercising any right or pursuing any remedy in respect of the precise or any part thereof;
commits any nuisance or does any other illegal act calculated to interfere with the peace or comfort of the lessee or members of his household in the enjoyment of the premises or withdraws or withholds services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises for the purposes of the lease, the lessee shall be entitled to compensation from the lessor for the loss caused by such act.
Explanation.-In this section, "lessee" in relation to any premises, includes a person continuing in the premises after the termination of the lease by virtue of any enactment or rule of law giving him the right to remain in occupation or restricting the right of any other person to recover possession of the premises."