Published: 17th June 2020
Can't do charity at cost of others: Delhi HC dismisses plea to prohibit tenants' eviction over rent
The bench on Monday also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner for wasting the valuable judicial time to be deposited with Delhi State Legal Services Authority within a period of four weeks
Delhi High Court has underlined that it cannot do charity at the cost of others and dismissed a PIL seeking directions to prohibit the eviction of tenants on grounds of non-payment of rent and waiver the same during the COVID-19 crisis.
A division bench of Chief Justice of Delhi DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan observed that the petition, filed as public interest litigation (PIL) on behalf of the tenants resident in Delhi, is thoroughly misconceived and baseless.
The bench on Monday also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner for wasting the valuable judicial time to be deposited with Delhi State Legal Services Authority within a period of four weeks of resumption of the physical functioning of the courts. The amount will be utilized for COVID-19 relief and welfare measures.
The PIL, filed by an advocate Gaurav Jain, had sought appropriate orders declaring that tenants who have not been able to pay the rent for the months of April, May, and June shall not be asked or coerced in any manner to pay the outstanding rent for that period and the net outstanding rent amount shall be waived off forthwith.
"In the absence of all these landlords in Delhi, on their behalf, this court cannot waive the payment of rent while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution. Hence, we see no reason to entertain the prayer for waiver of the rent," the order said.
"It ought to be kept in mind that the court cannot do charity at the cost of others. Charity beyond the law is an injustice to others. If the landlord is entitled to receive the rent/ consideration in accordance with law as per the contractual agreement entered between the parties concerned, then, the court cannot, by a general order of the nature sought by the petitioner, waive such amount," the order added.
The court noted that the general prayer for waiver of rent cannot be granted by it while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and added that the payment of rent depends on a contractual arrangement between the tenant and the landlord.
While dismissing the plea, the court noted that during the course of hearing, we had informed the petitioner that we are not inclined to entertain the petition as we find that it is an abuse of the process of the law. The bench said that it had warned the petitioner that if he presses the petition, the court would be constrained to dismiss it with costs.