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Facts of the case

  • The current case was directed against an order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka in 2006.
  • The plaintiff in the case was inducted as a tenantby the Rent Controller under the Karnataka Rent Control Act, 1961. The building was brought by the appellant who filed a petition to eject the plaintiff under Section 21(1)(j) of the Rent Act. The landlord wanted to demolish the building and erect a new building on the premises.
  • A notice was issued under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, section 322. The section prescribes precautions to be taken when the structure is dangerous. The notice was on the grounds that the building was in dilapidated condition, unsafe and dangerous.

High Court’s Judgement

  • The High Court allowed the appeal stating that the building in question was demolished in haste, and the plaintiff had the right of possession of the building as he was unlawfully denied the same. The Corporation and the appellant were directed by the court to restore the possession of a shop comparable in size in the new property within two months.
  • It was observed that the Municipal Corporation must “take action in order to prevent any imminent danger to the public independently of the dispute”. But the High court held that section 21 of the Rent Act, which protects tenants from eviction, will have an overriding effect on section 322 of the Municipal Act.

Supreme Court’s Decision

  • The Supreme Court did not agree with High Court’s findings that since the tenant has the protection of the Rent Act, were challenged, stating that the Decision according to section 322 of the Municipal act was not bonafide and that the Rent Act would Prevail over the Municipal Act.
  • The proceedings under the Act are not restricted to the landlord and the tenant, and the Act has a much wider scope that ensures public safety, the dilapidated building in this case was endangering the life and property of the occupants.
  • The Court observed; “The Act deals with the municipal functions which are wider and welfare-oriented towards the residents of the area of Corporation, whereas the Rent Act has a limited application for determining the rights of landowner and tenant. Both operate in separate spheres as both have different objectives to be achieved.”
  • However, the Supreme Court agreed with the High Court stating that the tenant had not received the requisite 3-day notice for the demolition of the building. Thus, the plaintiff was granted 5 Lakh Rs.as compensation.

Hope you find the snippet informative. Kindly answer the following questions in the comments section.

  1. What do you mean by ‘rent control'?
  2. Should a tenant in wrongful possession be given an opportunity to vacate the premises after giving a notice?
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