Converting Leave & License To Tenancy Is A Pre-Election Gimmick

Well known author and journalist Christopher Hitchens once said, “The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.” This is indeed a profound truth. Universally and not just within our community, smooth and sweet-talking politicians make tall promises leaving voters feeling short changed post elections.

Right now, some candidates have become ‘Dream Merchants’ and are actively selling dreams, as 29th May, 2022 draws near. One such dream is the converting of Leave & License agreements to Tenancy. The vendors of this dream are telling voters that tenancy will protect them from the vulnerability of a license agreement.

Yes, tenancy offers better protection that a license agreement. However, while tenancy may make the occupants less vulnerable, it may potentially make the BPP Trust more vulnerable by compromising the ‘Parsi Only’ covenant. Ironically, those pushing to compromise the BPP’s trust property are the same people who swear by the religion, orthodoxy and protecting Parsi Properties and Covenants.

Position Under Law: BPP trustees may recollect the case of one Mani Behram Daruwala which is on record of the BPP trust. The RAE suit was filed in 1978, when a non-Parsi (Hindu Maharashtrian) daughter-in-law was inducted by the Parsi family in one of the Trust Flats. The RAE Suit (No. 3344 of 1978) as also the Appeal (No. 284 of 1994) was dismissed by the courts stating that inducting a non-Parsi spouse is not a ground for eviction and being a family member, she has tenancy rights, irrespective of her religion. This matter is still pending before the High Court (Writ Petition No. 4998 of 1999).

What we gather from the court ruling so far is, a non-Parsi spouse or the children of such marriages cannot be disqualified from claiming transmission of tenancy rights in respect of a tenanted premises merely because he or she is not a Parsi as long as he or she fulfills the criteria prescribed under section 7(15)(d) of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999, namely: ‘Residing with the deceased tenant as a member of the family in the tenanted premises at the time of the tenant’s death’.

The courts so far have ruled that the Rent Act does not discriminate in the matter of transmission of tenancy rights of the deceased tenant by operation of law, on the basis of the religion of the claimant. Tenancy Agreement or any contract would not invalidate or prevail over the law relating to transmission of tenancy rights of the deceased tenant under the Rent Act.

Hence, to aver that in a ‘contractual tenancy’, one can enforce the ‘Parsi Only’ covenant, is debatable…

In their order, the Courts have also referred to Section 1 of “The Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850” which states: “Law or usage which inflicts forfeiture of, or affects, rights on change of religion or loss of caste to cease to be enforced. So much of any law or usage now in force within India as inflicts on any person forfeiture of rights or property, or may be held in any way to impair or affect any right of inheritance, by reason of his or her renouncing, or having been excluded from the communion of, any religion, or being deprived of caste, shall cease to be enforced as law in any Court.”

THUS, THE QUESTION IS:  Is a Trustee’s primary duty towards protecting the Trust (of which he/she is Trustee) or simply pleasing voters in order to garner votes?

ALSO, THE BIGGER QUESTION IS: Is there a single, we repeat, even a single case, of a Parsi licensee who has been evicted unjustly or unlawfully?

Clearly, this ‘eviction scare’ is a myth – the proverbial boogieman, to scare the gullible…

So, why was this not taken up earlier?

The current trio of trustees have been in majority on the BPP board for now over two years. They used their power of majority to postpone elections since March 2021. I would like to ask them, why did they prioritize pushing the elections for later and instead not push for tenancy two years ago?

The fact is, when elections became inevitable and with no scope for further delay tactics to stay in power, a very attractive looking and great tasting candy had to be packaged and marketed. This candy goes under the marketing strategy code named: “Tenancy to Turn Voters”!

 Not Against Tenancy…

BPP Trustees –  Kersi Randeria and Noshir Dadrawala are per se not averse to the idea of converting Leave and License agreements to Tenancy. What we are averse to, is the timing.

Why was it pushed in such haste and without application of mind by the majority trustees, just the evening before the High Court’s final hearing and order?

Questions To Ponder…

  1. Will this scheme benefit the poor and needy or only the rich who can afford to pay the stamp duty? The answer, as they say is blowing in the wind.

  2. Is BPP ready to give first priority to the poor and deserving and bear cost of stamp duty for those who cannot afford it? It does not appear to be so.

  3. Have tax implications been considered? We don’t think so!

  4. Will tenancy protect the Parsi only covenant? It’s debatable!

Let the voters reflect upon these truths and reality.


It’s time we stop thinking just about what’s beneficial to us individually, we need to think of what’s beneficial for the community as a whole. With apologies to the former president of the USA John F Kennedy, “Ask not what the BPP has done for you… Ask what you can do for the BPP and the community.”

 On 29th May 2022, it will not be just the contestants who will be put to the test. It is the community and its wisdom that will be on test. Let’s see how we fare!

Dear voters, the future of the BPP is in your hands. Vote wisely!

Noshir H. Dadrawala
Latest posts by Noshir H. Dadrawala (see all)

Leave a Reply