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New Delhi [India], June 15 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking directions to authorities concerned to prohibit the eviction of tenants on grounds of non-payment of rent amid the coronavirus lockdown and waive the outstanding rent.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by an advocate Gaurav Jain, seeking appropriate orders declaring that tenants who have not been able to pay the rent for the months of April, May and June shall not be asked or coerced in any manner to pay the outstanding rent for that period and the net outstanding rent amount shall be waived off forthwith.
In his PIL, Jain has sought to issue directions prohibiting the eviction of the tenants on the grounds of non-payment of rent till this crisis caused by the pandemic lasts, or till a date, the court deems fit.
“In the alternative, direct the respondents to issue appropriate orders prohibiting eviction of the tenants on the grounds of non-payment of rent till this crisis caused by the pandemic lasts, or till a date this court deems fit. In the alternative, direct the respondents to issue appropriate orders prohibiting eviction of the tenants on the grounds of non-payment of rent till this crisis caused by the pandemic lasts, or till a date this court deems fit,” the plea read.
Jain had, in his plea, sought enforcement of fundamental rights of those people living as tenants and are unable to pay their rent due to loss of their livelihood and savings during the lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of these people work as maids, cooks, labourers, factory workers, e-rickshaw drivers, cycle-rickshaw pullers, street vendors, shop attendants, office boys, guards, waiters, barbers and others, the plea said.
The petitioner told the court that these tenants have lost their livelihood and savings due to lockdown, face a serious risk of getting evicted from their homes if they do not pay the outstanding rent for April, May, and June.
if they pay the rent, they face a serious risk of starving to death or beg to survive as they will not be left with any money to buy food after paying the rent.
“It is inhuman and unconstitutional to subject anyone to the choice between eviction, begging or death,” the advocate said.
The plea sought directions to respondents — Centre, Delhi government and others — to issue appropriate orders to the Delhi Police and other authorities concerned to engage a sufficient number of patrolling vehicles mounted with loudspeakers for the task of making people aware about the orders related to the issue of rent, and make a general appeal to all the landlords to show some gentility and empathy towards their tenants by waiving off their outstanding rent, instead of coercing them to pay it immediately.
A further appeal can be made to the landlords and the tenants to talk with each other and come up with fresh rent-terms where the interests of both the parties are taken care of, the public suit said.
It also sought directions to Delhi Police to make amendments to the standard operating procedure for taking prompt action if their control room officer receives any distress calls related to rent disputes. (ANI)
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