The eviction of a tenant who has been a tenant for a long time has been a sore point for a large number of landlords.

In a civil appeal case (Civil Appeal No. 4364 of 2023) before the Supreme Court of India, the appellant, Ravi Khandelwal, was the landlord, and the respondent, M/S. Taluka Stores, was the tenant of a shop in Jaipur. The appellant had filed a suit for eviction on grounds of bona fide necessity in 1985, which was initially dismissed. However, the appellant succeeded in the first appeal. The respondent filed a second appeal before the High Court, raising a preliminary question on the interpretation of Section 14(3) of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950.

The High Court, in its judgment, noted conflicting views on the interpretation of Section 14(3) and referred the matter to a larger bench. The Division Bench of the High Court ultimately held that Section 14(3) of the Act created a complete prohibition on filing a suit for eviction within five years of the tenancy.

The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing for a purposive interpretation of Section 14(3) and contending that the suit should not be barred after 38 years of its filing. The respondent argued that the suit was not maintainable as it was filed within the five-year period specified in the Act.

The Supreme Court, considering the objective of Section 14(3) to protect the tenant for five years, ruled in favor of the appellant. The court concluded that the purpose of the provision had been fulfilled by the lengthy proceedings and the passage of 38 years. It held that insisting on the appellant filing a fresh suit would be a travesty of justice. The court set aside the High Court’s judgment and affirmed the decree of eviction passed by the first appellate court. The respondent was directed to hand over vacant possession of the premises by September 30, 2023.

RAVI KHANDELWAL …Appellant
Versus
M/S. TALUKA STORES …Respondent
…decided by the Supreme Court of India on 11.07.23

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.