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Difference between “Power of Attorney of a Landlord” and “Landlord through Power of Attorney”

The Allahabad High Court in Rashmi Bhatiya vs. Geeta Sharma has held that, Release application cannot be filed by Power of Attorney on the ground of his bonafide need, but there is no express prohibition under the Rent Act debarring the owner-landlord from applying for release through Power of Attorney holder. Difference between filing of a Release application by a “Power of Attorney of a Landlord” and that by a “Landlord through Power of Attorney” is explained in this Judgment rendered by Justice Pankaj Mithal for Allahabad High Court. Through a writ petition, the tenants had challenged the judgment of Rent control Authority, contending that Release application was filed by the power of attorney holder of the landlady and, as such, was not maintainable. BONAFIDE NEED URGED HAS TO BE OF LANDLORD OR HIS FAMILY The High Court held: “Section 21 of the Rent Act envisages an application of the landlord for eviction of a tenant if the premises is bona fide required by him for occupation by him or any member of his family. In view of the above, the application for release has to be an application by the landlord for bona fide need of himself or any member of his family. In such circumstances, the need cannot be of anyone else, much-less that of the agent or the power of attorney holder.” The Court added: “The definition of the ‘landlord’ in the rent enactments is of vide amplitude which not only covers the owner of the property who has the right to occupy it but also the person receiving or collecting rent on his behalf. But for the purposes of release of the property from the tenant the word ‘landlord’ was interpreted in a narrower sense excluding the rent collector and confining it to the owner of the property.” Referring to Apex Court dictum in M.M. Quasim Vs. Manohar Lal Sharma and others AIR 1981 SC 1113, the Court said: “The word ‘landlord’ may include a person who is receiving or is entitle to receive rent of a building but for the purposes of claiming possession on the ground of bona fide need he must show that he is landlord in the sense that he is the owner of the building and has a right to occupy it in his own right. A mere rent collector may not be sufficient for such an application.” NO BAR OF FILING IT THROUGH POWER OF ATTORNEY The High Court also observed that the instant release application is filed on behalf of the owner and landlady of the shop through the power of attorney holder and the need set up in the application is also of the owner and landlady and it is not for any personal right or interest of the power of attorney holder.  The Court observed: There is no bar for the power of attorney holder to sign and verify the pleadings as contemplated by Rule 14 Order VI C.P.C. referred to in Rule 15 of the Rules framed under the Rent Act. The release application in the case at hand as stated earlier, has been filed in the name of the owner-landlady through the power of attorney holder. It has been signed and verified by the power of attorney holder on behalf of the owner-landlady. The owner-landlady by her own affidavit has accepted that the release application has been filed on her behalf through the power of attorney holder and that she reiterates and verifies the contents of the release application. In view of the above, there is no illegality in signing and verifying the release application by the power of attorney holder.”

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