The judgment by a Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna in the appeals filed by tenants of different residential and non-residential buildings in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and urban areas in the State of Punjab.
The following were the issues presented before the Supreme Court in the present matter before them:
First and foremost being whether the Notification under Section 87 of the Reorganisation Act was valid?
In dealing with this issue, the Court relied upon the judgment in Ramesh Birch v. Union of India
“The judicial decisions referred to above make it clear that it is not necessary that the legislature should “dot all the i's and cross all the t's” of its policy.
They are small territories falling under the legislative jurisdiction of Parliament which has hardly sufficient time to look after the details of all their legislative needs and requirements. To require or expect Parliament to legislate for them will entail a disproportionate pressure on its legislative schedule.”
The Supreme Court coherent that the extension of the Amendment Act to the Union Territory of Chandigarh falls within the ambit of conditional delegation Therefore, the Court rejected the argument of the doctrine of excessive delegation and separation of powers by the tenants.
Second, Whether Section 13B of the Rent Act is arbitrary and unreasonable?
The laid emphasis in explaining Section 18-A of the Rent Act prescribes a summary procedure for recovery of possession applicable to eviction petitions filed by Non-Resident Indian landlords under Section 13-B of the Rent Act.
The Act very evidently puts in place certain conditions. The landlord should have been the owner of the premises for five years. The eviction petition can be filed only once during the lifetime. There is a further restriction placed on sale or lease of the premises for a period of five years from the date of taking possession from the tenant. If there is a breach of any of the conditions, then the tenant has a right to seek restoration of possession.
The Supreme Court was of the opinion that there are several checks placed to avoid frivolous evictions and only “bona fide requirement” of the landlords shall have the protection of law. Hence, it turned down the contention that Section 13B was arbitrary.
Third, whether Section 13B is invalid and ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution?
The Court pointed out that the object and reasons for enacting Section 13B was that the State government had been receiving representations from various NRI individuals. The NRIs were not able to settle in India since they were finding it difficult to recover possession of their own residential buildings from the tenants.
The Court further proceeded to note:
“The right of Non-Resident Indians to initiate eviction under the summary procedure provided in Section 18-A of the Rent Act is not an unfettered and absolute right. It is subject to satisfaction of various pre-requisites and imperatives that ensure and check potential abuse by resorting to a short-circuit procedure. The requirement should arise from a genuine need of the Non Resident Indian landlord or his dependent.”
In view of these observations presented before the Apex Court, the Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the same.
Therefore, concluding the above matter Supreme Court in the case upheld the validity of Section 13B of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 (Rent Act) which gives right to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to recover immediate possession of residential/ scheduled/non-residential buildings situated in the Union Territory of Chandigarh and urban areas in the State of Punjab on the satisfaction of the conditions stated therein.