A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court regarding demand of rent by a landlord from their students, labor class tenants, amid the lockdown.

The PIL has been filed by Pawan Parkash Pathak, Advocate, Delhi and Abhijeet (final year law student) Campus Law Centre, Delhi for restraining all landlords from forcing laborers & students to vacate their premises in case they fail to pay rent during the lockdown period.

The petitioners pointed out that landlords are forcing the above class citizens to vacate the premises or being threatened to be thrown out of their premises. Further, they submitted that majority of the parents are self-employed and because this pandemic has also created a dent in their income they are forced to cope up by spending whatever minimum savings they have accumulated. There is high uncertainty as to when this lockdown would end and normalcy would be restored so any demand for rent by the landlords would further aggravate the situation but also lead to undue harassment and embarrassment to the student.

In these circumstances, the Petitioners have submitted that the students and the labors are living in constant fear and depressions and suffering from a financial crisis due to the lockdown, in such situation one is only left with one option i.e. opportunity cost of money, either one can pay rent out of the same amount or one can buy essential ration, food for their family during this period.

The Union Ministry of Home Affair last month was issued some direction under the Disaster Management Act 2005, which was:

On 29.03.2020 Ministry of Home Affairs issue order in relation to landlord & tenant agreement, no landlord to order vacation of premises and not to collect rent from student & labor class for one month, amid COVID-19.

29.03.2020 to 13.04.2020 – That various State’s in India are a hub for students like Delhi, Mumbai, Kota City, Chennai and with a mass population is constituted by students & labor’s in these cities and they are comparatively lower on income scale as well and with an extension of lock-down till 03rd May 2020. These people are facing an issue of paying rental accommodation as the source of income during this period is nil and savings with these families are minimal, whereas for the food they are dependent upon the services extended by the govt. in their local area through fair price shops & other NGO help.

The Ministry of Home Affairs vide order dated 29.03.2020, said that landlords should not collect rent from student & labor class for a period of one month because they are financially weaker and during standstill face of the economy, they will have problems to pay the rent, therefore the landlord may not ask for rent or order to vacate the rental premises during this period. As per the order of the Government, the lockdown period is further extended till 3rd May 2020.

The following questions of law were raised from the plea:

  1. Whether the M.H.A order dated 29.03.2020 applies to all student class studying & staying in rented accommodation?
  2. Whether the eviction defence applies in all scenarios & with all citizens irrespective of Labour & student class during COVID-19?
  3. Whether this blanket protection is available to all students irrespective of their economic viability?
  4. Whether any remedy available if landlord forcefully order evicting or evicted the tenant during COVID-19?


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