CHANDIGARH – The Punjab and Haryana High Court made it clear that the right to recover immediate possession of a building was available to a non-resident Indian (NRI) once in his lifetime for only one building of “each category”. After exercising the right for only a part of a larger building, he could not avail the special benefit for the remaining portion.
“The intention of the legislature was to restrict the right to recover immediate possession only to one building which may be only a part of a larger building. Hence, the landowner would be deemed to have foregone the right to seek eviction under Section 13-B of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, with respect to remaining part of the building,” Justice Anil Kshetarpal asserted.
The judgment came on a bunch of petitions by Balvir Chand and other tenants though counsel Pankaj Jain. The matter was placed before Justice Kshetarpal after the rent controller ordered eviction of tenants.
Jain submitted it was admitted before the rent controller that NRI Narinder Singh, one of the co-owners, had previously filed a petition under Section 13-B of the 1949 Act, which was allowed and possession of eight shops from different tenants had already been delivered. Yet, the rent controller ordered eviction of the tenant-petitioners.
Alluding to the right to recover immediate possession of a building, Justice Kshetarpal asserted the word “building” as defined in the Act referred to any building or part of a building. “A part of a building also falls in definition of the word “building”.
Justice Kshetarpal added: “Once the NRI elects a building which may only be a part of the building, he cannot subsequently file second petition under Section 13-B of the 1949 Act. This will be applicable not only with respect to separate building but also a part of the building which the landowner omitted to opt/elect at the time when the first petition was filed or possession whereof was not sought when the first petition was filed.”