As regards the relevance of the issue of title of the landlord in an eviction suit under rent laws it is fairly well settled that the impleadment of co-owner/co-sharer to the proceedings is not essential as eviction proceedings can normally be decided on merits in absence of such co-owner/co-sharer. In an eviction suit filed by the landlord, only landlord and tenant are necessary parties and in view thereof title of landlord in an eviction suit is not relevant. If the landlord fails to prove his title but proves relationship of landlord and tenant, and proves existence of any ground pleaded for eviction then his suit would succeed. On the other hand, if the landlord proves his title but fails to prove relationship of landlord and tenant, then his suit would fail. Shahnaj Begum v. Taj Mohammad, 2019 (134) ALR 800.
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The object of rent law is to balance the competing claims of the landlord on the one hand to recover possession of building let out to the tenant and of the tenant to be protected against arbitrary increase of rent or arbitrary eviction, when there is acute shortage of accommodation. Though, it is for the legislature to resolve such competing claims in terms of statutory provisions.
In Malpe Vishwanath Acharya v. State of Maharashtra, (1998) 2 SCC 1, the Hon’ble Supreme Court emphasized the need of social legislations like the Rent Control Act striking a balance between rival interests so as to be just to law. The law ought not to be unjust to one and give a disproportionate benefit or protection to another section of the society. While the shortage of accommodation makes it necessary to protect the tenants to save them from exploitation but at the same time the need to protect tenants is coupled with an obligation to ensure that the tenants are not conferred with a benefit disproportionately larger than the one needed. Socially progressive legislation must have a holistic perception and not a short sighted parochial approach.
In Arjun Khiamal Makhijani v. Jamnadas C. Tuliani, (1989) 4 SCC 612, it was observed that provisions contained in such legislations are capable of being categorized into two: those beneficial to the tenants and those beneficial to the landlord. As to a legislative provision beneficial to the landlord, an assertion that even with regard to such provision an effort should be made to interpret it in favour of the tenant, is a negation of the very principle of interpretation of a beneficial legislation. Sidhharth Vyas v. Ravi Nath Misra, (2015) 2 SCC 701.
It is well established that findings on twin issues of bona fide need and comparative hardship are findings of fact. Equally well settled is the proposition that High Court in exercise of it’s jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India does not interfere with the findings of fact unless it is demonstrated that the same is vitiated by manifest error of law or is patently perverse or based on non consideration or misreading of any material piece of evidence.
No doubt whenever a decree of eviction is passed against a tenant he shall suffer hardship but the same by itself cannot constitute hardship of greater degree so as to refuse the landlord a decree for eviction. The owner of a property cannot be denied eviction and compelled to live poorly and without a decent livelihood merely to enable the tenant to carry on his flourishing business activity. Shrawan Kumar and Another v. Rajat Verma, 2013 (5) AWC 4771.