Landlord Cannot Be Made To Suffer Indefinitely: Delhi HC Permits De-Sealing Of Premises Used In Connection With Child Labour
The Delhi High Court has permitted the de-sealing of the property that was being used in connection with child labour.
While allowing so, Justice Pratibha M. Singh observed that the landlord cannot be made to suffer indefinitely due to the misconduct of the tenant and thus held –
"The Petitioner is merely the landlady of the subject property, and one of her sources of income is rent on the said property. She cannot be made to suffer indefinitely due to misconduct of the tenant."
The Petition before the Court was filed by one Farida Begum seeking de-sealing of the property which she had let out to one Rajesh Kumar @ Rajesh Sheikh. The tenant was found to have engaged in child labour at the tenanted premises due to which the premises was sealed by the concerned SDM. The police then registered an FIR against the said tenant.
The Counsel appearing for the Respondent informed the Court that the tenant is absconding and is not traceable and has not been arrested. Further, it was also submitted that the demand drafts that were submitted by the tenant have also been cancelled.
The Petitioner had prayed before the Court that she cannot be made to suffer due to the misconduct of the tenant therefore, the property be de-sealed.
The Court noted that the tenant was engaged in the business of stitching/tailoring in the said property and was found by the labour Commissioner to have engaged children in the said business.
The Bench further also noted that various other property in the surrounding area were inspected which showed that a total of 30 children were employed in various premises.
While noting so, the Court held, "The Petitioner is merely the landlady of the subject property, and one of her sources of income is rent on the said property. She cannot be made to suffer indefinitely due to misconduct of the tenant. Moreover, ld. Counsel for the Petitioner submits that the tenant has not paid even up-to-date rent, and the landlady has already suffered immensely. There are no allegations against the Petitioner of having been complicit in any manner with the tenant."
Thus, the Court held that since the tenant is absconding, the Petitioner ought to be permitted to use her property and observed –
"In the facts and circumstances of the case, the concerned SDM is directed to de-seal the subject property bearing No.X-4375, Gali No.8, Ajit Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Delhi-110031. This de-sealing shall be subject to the condition that if the Petitioner, learns about the whereabouts of Respondent No.2, she shall provide the information immediately to the concerned police authorities. The authorities are free to proceed and take action in accordance with law against Respondent no.2."
With such directions, the Court disposed of the Writ Petition.
Cause Title – Farida Begum v. Govt. of NCT Delhi Through DY Labour Commissioner & Anr. (Neutral Citation No. 2022/DHC/005280)