HC dismisses plea challenging validity of Rent Control Act

Delhi

Petition by landowners had contended that the 1958 Act protects only one class of tenants
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.

Archaic law
A Bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice A.K. Chawla rejected the bunch pleas filed by landowners claiming they are being paid pittance as rent under the archaic law.

The main petition was filed in 2010 by a group of women property owners. It had contended that after an amendment was made in 1988, the Act protects only one class of tenants who are paying less than ₹3,500 as rent. “This protection is given regardless of the financial status of the tenants/ landlords or the market rent of the property and has no reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved by the Act,” the petitioners had argued.

Landlords whose properties are under rent control face discrimination against the landlords whose properties fall outside the rent control, the plea had said. It said that landlords of private property fetching less than ₹3,500 as rent are governed by the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. These landlords can neither determine the rent nor evict the tenant except under certain limited conditions or grounds.

Reacting to the High Court verdict, the Committee for the Repeal of Delhi Rent Control Act said “The owners may have lost a battle but the war will be fought in the Supreme Court and they are confident that justice will be done”.

“Three generations of owners have already suffered huge economic losses and faced physical, mental and emotional trauma. During the long struggle, a number of owners have died; many have become bedridden due to age-related ailments without having the finances for medical care,” the Committee’s president and advocate Shobha Aggarwal said.

It added that the judgment has not addressed the core issues raised by the petitioners.

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