Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition seeking to waive the rent payable by the tenants during the lockdown period including April or/and May or/and June. In addition to dismissing the petition, the court has also imposed an exemplary cost worth Rs 10,000 after considering it a “thoroughly misconceived and baseless” request.
The bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan junks the plea and said that the power for waiving the rent is vested with the contractually entitled landlords. The court took the decision while observing, ” There can be no eviction, on ground of non-payment of the rent by the tenants who are poor. But it ought to be kept in mind that even the landlords can be financially dependent on the rent.”
The bench said that proof of facts is a must when filing such petitions as there is lumpsum of requests and said that the same “is devoid of any merits as public interest litigation” but is a “publicity interest litigation”.
The court further added, “If such type of general argument is accepted by this Court, that rent should be waived for all the tenants of Delhi who are poor for the month of April or/and May or/and June, it will lead to injustice.”
The bench had stated, ” charity beyond the law is an injustice” as the tenants can also be dependent on the rent only. There can be a widow or a retired person whose only means of financial help is the rent.
Delhi High court has directed the petitioner to pay the imposed cost of Rs 10,000 with 4 weeks of resumption of the physical functioning of the courts. The amount is to be deposited with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority which will be used for COVID relief and welfare measures.