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Onus Lies On Tenant To Disclose Facts As Would Disentitle Summary Eviction Under Section 13-B: Supreme Court

Mukesh Kumar V/S S. Kuldeep Singh, [Civil Appeal No. 8641 Of 2009]

The Supreme Court ruled that the onus lies on the tenant to disclose facts as would disentitle summary eviction under section 13-b.

The three judges bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Sanjay Kumar And Justice S.V.N. Bhatti noted that after examining each one of the grounds raised by the tenant, the Rent Controller recorded that the ground raised by Mukesh Kumar that S. Kuldeep Singh is not the owner, is unsustainable and rejected the said ground.

The bench observed that it is recorded that Mukesh Kumar, having referred to an offer of S. Kuldeep Singh to sell the property, cannot dispute the status of S. Kuldeep Singh as the owner of the tenanted premises. 

The court said that finding of fact on maintainability of eviction at the instance of S. Kuldeep Singh is correctly recorded by the Rent Controller.

The appellant-Mukesh Kumar is the tenant of Shop No. 5 at Guru Amardas Chowk, Model Town, Jalandhar. He challenged the Order of Eviction from Shop No.5 under Section 13-B of the  East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949. 

Kavita Wadia, appearing for Mukesh Kumar, contended that the Order of Eviction, through the summary procedure under Section 13-B of the Act, is wholly illegal and unsustainable. The tenanted premises are part of a big building—the family members of S. Kuldeep Singh own shops. The Rent Controller ordered the eviction of one of the shop rooms in favour of a family member of S. Kuldeep Singh.

Counsel for S. Kuldeep Singh contends that the summary eviction of the tenant was fully compliant with the requirements of Section 13-B of the Act.

The maintainability of an Eviction Application under Section 13-B is not a standalone circumstance that this Court can consider and accept. At any rate, the disqualification for summary eviction proceeding is traced to the alleged serving of vacant possession of a shop in the same building. This argument cannot be appreciated for more than one reason, viz., (i) there is no evidence on the alleged possession secured by S. Kuldeep Singh, (ii) the family members can settle among themselves with an understanding and allow one of the members in need to secure possession under Section 13-B of the Act and (iii) eviction order in favour of Nasib Kaur cannot be put against S. Kuldeep Singh. These grounds should have been stated with certainty while serving leave to defend the Eviction Petition. The consideration of these objections raised without basis or pleas is impermissible. These arguments, viz., possessing other shops, etc., are merely noted and need to be rejected”, the court said. 

The court viewed that the owner invoking Section 13-B satisfied the ingredients of the said Section and the onus is on Mukesh Kumar to disclose such facts as would disentitle summary eviction under Section 13-B, which Mukesh Kumar failed to do. 

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