If a party enters premise as a tenant, in the absence of relevant documents, he cannot claim ownership

In a recent judgment, the High Court at New Delhi, held that the landlord is the best judge of his requirement for residential or business purpose and  has complete freedom in the matter.

The said ruling was delivered in the matter of Thomas Gervase & Anr. vs. Ravin Mehra, RC Rev. No. 319 of 2018 decided on 08.01.2019.


The Petitioner/Tenant had instituted the present revision petition wherein in the impugned judgment dated 01.05.2018, the Trial Court had allowed the petition of the Respondent/Landlord filed under Section 14(1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, i.e. bonafide requirement of landlord. The question before the Hon’ble Court was pertaining to ownership. The Petitioner/Tenant filed a reply to the eviction petition instead of an application for leave to defend wherein it has been alleged by that he is the absolute owner of suit property. In the present revision petition also, it has been alleged that the Petitioner himself is the absolute owner of the subject property. Petitioner has submitted that he purchased the suit property from the father of the Respondent for an amount of Rs. 4.00 lacs, however, the complete consideration has not been paid till date. Admittedly, the Petitioner was inducted in the property as a tenant. Further, the Petitioner, being in possession of the subject premises for more than 20 years, has taken the plea of adverse possession.


The High Court held that the finding of the Trial Court with respect to the ownership does not require interference of the Court as the Petitioner failed to attach the general power of attorney and receipt towards payment made as alleged in the reply as well as the revision petition. Further, decision of the Trial Court was affirmed to the extent that the DRC Act has been enacted for the protection of the tenants, however, it has also provided that the landlord will be entitled to eviction of tenant and bonafide requirement is one of such grounds. The Petitioner has not challenged the bonafide requirement of the Respondent or provided details of any alternate accommodation that may be available for the Respondent in Delhi. As it is a settled position in rent legislation that the landlord is entitled in his own legal right, as distinguished for and on behalf of someone else, to evict the tenant and to retain control, hold and use of premises himself, it was held that the Petitioner does not have title over the suit property as an owner.

With respect to adverse possession, it was held that admittedly the Petitioner entered the premises as a tenant, therefore the entry was not forceful. Further, he failed to assert his alleged ownership rights by filing relevant suit.