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The Delhi High Court Wednesday held that premises leased out for carrying out a specific commercial activity cannot be used for any other purpose.

The court passed its order on a plea of a landlord who sought permission to run a banquet hall at a commercial premises initially allotted for use as a departmental store.

“To permit a person to make a bid for a barber shop and thereafter run a restaurant would be doing violence to the town planners’ scheme of things. It would also force residents of the area to travel distances to other markets in order to avail services which were intended to be provided in the local area,” a bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice A.K. Pathak said.

A single judge bench had earlier restrained Mahesh Chand Goyal from running a banquet hall on the land allotted to him on the ground that he was not entitled to change the land use unilaterally.

“Town planning is a specialisation and work of art. It requires the planner to look into myriad needs of society and in that intricate perspective, specify the manner in which the portions of the city are to be used,” the court observed.

“This use has several shades and hues and to predicate that commercial use encompasses and accepts all such enterprise, is a dangerous oversimplification,” the bench said.

The bench said the land has to be used in consonance with the contract between the parties and no change of the use can be made contrary to the agreement even if the Master Plan of Delhi permits such use.

In the present case, a piece of land was allotted in 2003 by the DDA through a perpetual lease deed, stipulating that it be used for running departmental shop.

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