NRI Landlord Does Not Need To Be Physically Present In Country To Initiate Eviction Proceedings Under East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act: SC
The Supreme Court has affirmed the Rent controller’s views that an NRI landlord can initiate eviction proceedings under Section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act (Act) without being physically present in the country.
The Court dismissed a Civil Appeal challenging the eviction order of the Rent Controller. The Court emphasized that the circumstances stated were normal and correctly reviewed by the Rent Controller while exercising the jurisdiction under Section 13-B read with Section 18-A Sub-Sections (4) and (5) of the Act.
The Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Sanjay Kumar, and Justice S.V.N. Bhatti observed, “The Rent Controller answers the maintainability of the petition by the Respondent from the United Kingdom by holding that even before eviction, an NRI is not required to be physically present in India. On examination of the definition of ‘NRI’ and the requirement of Section 13-B, we hasten to add at this juncture of our consideration that the Rent Controller rightly records the said finding”.
Advocate Kaveeta Wadia appeared for the Appellants, and Advocate Praveen Chaturvedi appeared for the Respondents.
The owner of a shop, the Respondent, declared themselves to be a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) who had relocated to India from England due to a recession and lack of work. The Respondent filed an Eviction Application under Section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 (Act) against the Appellant, who was doing business in readymade garments and was in default of rent payment. The Respondent initiated eviction proceedings under Section 13, read with Section 13-B of the Act. The Rent Controller dismissed the Application, explaining that the ejectment was not filed seeking the eviction of two premises. The Appellant filed a Civil Revision before the High Court, which was dismissed. The Appellant (tenant) filed a Civil Appeal challenging the Eviction Order of the Rent Controller and the Judgment of the High Court.
The Court noted that the Appellant only challenged the Order of Eviction on three grounds before the High Court. Therefore, the Bench observed that the contentions cannot go beyond what the High Court or the Rent Controller considered.
The Bench held that the Appellant did not provide sufficient evidence to prove that the evaluation of available material was either unjust or that the Rent Controller had not provided a valid reason for granting leave to defend. Per the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, the courts do not delve into the credibility of the findings of fact, reassess the allegations, or record findings.
“The Appellant failed to make out a case that the appraisal of available material is either perverse or the Rent Controller informed a reason for granting leave to defend. In our jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, we do not ordinarily go into the credibility of the findings of fact, reappraise the averments, and record results”, the Court noted.
The Bench, therefore, held that the circumstances described are very common and have been examined from the perspective required by the Rent Controller when exercising jurisdiction under Section 13-B combined with Section 18-A Sub-Sections (4) and (5) of the Act. Regardless of how the Court had considered the arguments, the Court held that there was no basis for any interference.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Appeal.
Cause Title: Shanta Rani v. Nasib Kaur (2023 INSC 874)