The High Court has ruled in favour of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in its case against 41 shop keepers in Austin Town and Indiranagar shopping complexes. The HC held that these shopkeepers were only ‘licensees’ and not tenants of the BDA. The Karnataka Rent Act and Transfer of Property Act are not applicable to the BDA, the court said, paving the way for reconstruction of these two shopping complexes that has been pending for over a decade now.
When the BDA decided to reconstruct the shopping complexes, it issued notices to the shopkeepers to vacate the premises in 2009. The shopkeepers challenged the notice saying there were ‘lessees’ and cannot be dispossessed of the property without BDA filing suit for ejectment. This suit can be instituted only after determination of tenancy, they claimed. However, the trial court which heard the case held that the relationship between BDA and the shopkeepers is that of ‘licensor and licensee’ and not that of ‘lessor and lessee’. It also held that the 41 shopkeepers were in unauthorised occupation of the premises.
In the HC, the BDA claimed that the licence period for the shopkeepers had expired and the complexes were in dilapidated condition and had to be demolished and rebuilt.
The shopkeepers then approached the HC. Justice AN Venugopala Gowda delivered the judgment in the case on May 6. The judgment said that “the claim of the plaintiffs (shopkeepers) that the jural relationship between them and the BDA in respect of the suit schedule premises is that of ‘lessee and lessor’ is unacceptable. The provisions of the Karnataka Rent Act or the Transfer of Property Act are not applicable to the property belonging to the BDA.”
Thus the court held that the shopkeepers cannot insist that BDA should recover the possession of the premises by filing suits under the Karnataka Rent Act or the Transfer of Property Act. The HC directed BDA to take possession of its premises from the shopkeeprs as per law under the BDA Act.
Credits Bangalore Mirror