Old Age, Frail Health Can't Justify Deprivation of Livelihood Right: Delhi High Court

Delhi HC upholds eviction order, stressing that old age and frail health shouldn't deny livelihood rights.

In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court underscored the fundamental rights of individuals, emphasizing that the right to livelihood and living with dignity should not be compromised, especially due to age or health constraints. The court upheld an eviction order against a tenant, reaffirming the landlord's legitimate need to utilize the property for business purposes.

Justice Girish Kathpalia, presiding over the case, emphasized, "A person cannot be deprived of the right to livelihood and the consequent right to live with dignity merely on account of old age and frail health." The court dismissed the tenant's petition challenging the eviction order issued by an additional rent controller (ARC).

Refuting the tenant's argument that the landlord's old age and health rendered his need for the premises dubious, the court remarked, "The bona fides of the requirement set up by the landlord cannot be shrouded with doubts on such presumptive arguments." It pointed out the absence of evidence suggesting the landlord's incapacity to manage his business due to health reasons or financial dependence on others.

The dispute arose when the landlord, claiming ownership of a shop in Paharganj, sought the tenant's eviction to resume business operations. The landlord explained that despite being allotted an alternative plot in Bawana by authorities, he surrendered it due to its distant location and his advancing age. However, the court noted that the surrender of the plot did not imply the landlord's inability to conduct business from the subject premises.

"The surrender of the Bawana plot by the present respondent was because of the long distance... But that cannot be read to mean that he is incapable of earning his livelihood through business from the subject premises," the court clarified.

Highlighting the significance of the ruling, the court emphasized the need to balance the rights of both parties while safeguarding the landlord's right to earn a livelihood. It reiterated that age or health conditions should not serve as grounds for depriving individuals of their basic rights.