Property Dispute Of 1942- Bombay HC Directs State Govt To Handover Possession Of Two Flats To Its Owner
The Bombay High Court has directed the State Government to handover vacant and peaceful possession of two flats to a woman i.e. the Owner, after taking its possession from the Occupants.
The subject matter premises were requisitioned in 1942 under the then Defence of India Act which allowed British rulers to take possession.
The bench of Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice MM Sathaye noted that physical possession of the said premises was never handed over to the owners, despite de-requisition orders passed in 1946.
“It is a matter of fact that physical possession of the said premises was never handed over to the owners and therefore, with such clear stand of State that its obligation is not discharged, the Orders dated 17th July 1946 and 24th July 1946 can not be interpreted to mean that de-requisition was complete in this case.”, the court noted.
Senior Advocate Mustafa Doctor appeared for the owner whereas Senior Advocate Sharan Jagtiani appeared for occupants.
The contention on behalf of the occupants was that the owner had earlier filed writ petitions and those were withdrawn with specific liberty taken from the Court for filing suit, and therefore, the owner is not entitled to seek possession by way of anything other than suit.
“…there is no doubt that it is a matter of record that the owner had indeed filed earlier writ petition and it was withdrawn with liberty to file suit and thereafter again had filed writ petition, which was also dismissed as withdrawn when the Owner sought leave to withdraw with a view to file review of earlier order and the said review filed thereafter was also dismissed. This has an effect on what proceedings owner can or cannot file. However, this history of withdrawal orders passed in owner’s writ petition with liberty to file a suit etc., can by no stretch of imagination affect the powers of the State to take appropriate action in accordance with law as provided under the provisions of the BLR Act.”, the Court said.
Another submission made on behalf of the Occupants was that during the period from 1961 to 1986, their father and grandfather have been duly paying rent to the then owner and about 8 rent receipt copies are produced in support of such submission.
The Court reiterated that issuance of a few rent receipts by owner to the occupants in case of requisitioned premises, does not amount to change of legal relationship between them or any admission of landlord tenant relationship, especially when non-handing over of possession to Owner, has resulted in the said premises remaining under requisition.
“…Writ Petition No. 925 of 2012 is allowed to the extent of issuing direction to the State Government to handover vacant and peaceful possession of the subject matter premises to the Petitioner therein i.e. the Owner, after taking its possession from the Occupants, within 8 weeks from today.”, the Court concluded.
Cause Title- Geeta Mangesh Laud & Ors v. The Appellate Authority and The Principal Secretary & Ors. with connected matters