Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea to Waive off Rent Payable by Tenants, Says the Case Is Publicity Interest Litigation

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The Delhi High Court remarked that charity beyond the law is an injustice to others. It has dismissed the PIL to waive off the rents of the tenants who faced financial hardship because of the ongoing pandemic.

Facts of the Case 

Advocate Gaurav Jain filed the Public Interest Litigation. The PIL has sought the court’s direction to prohibit the eviction of the tenants on the grounds of non-payment of rent till the pandemic lasts.

The plea has also prayed for the landlords to show some empathy. Further, it prayed to waive off outstanding rent instead of paying it immediately.

Petitioner’s Submission

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The petitioner highlighted that persons from unprivileged groups suffered various losses. They have lost their livelihood and savings due to lockdown. Their landlords may even evict them if they do not pay the outstanding rent. He contended that if they pay rent, they will have to starve or beg for survival.

Furthermore, he added, “It is inhuman to subject anyone to the choice between eviction, begging, or death.”

He argued that if evicted, it will violate their fundamental right under Article 19(1) and 21. Additionally, he stated that it would be very difficult for the tenants to pay the outstanding rent.

Petitioner’s Prayers

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The Petitioner prayed for waiver of rent of tenants for April to June. He also prayed for a prohibition on the eviction of tenants. The petitioner requested the constitution of the ‘Rent Resolution Commission’. 

Court’s Decision

The Court stated that the public interest litigation was misconceived and baseless. It stated that it could not grant the general prayer for waiver of rent while exercising powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, that is especially in the absence of representation of the landlords in the city. The Court also stated that it is not the maker of law and cannot draft a brand new law.

As a result, it highlighted that the case was not a PIL but a “publicity interest litigation” and was also an abuse of the process of the law. The Court thus dismissed the petition for being meritless and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the Petitioner for wasting the judiciary’s time.


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