What is a Suit for Specific Performance?

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The Supreme Court recently set aside the decree passed in a civil suit for specific performance filed in 1999 for the enforcement of an agreement to sell executed in 1986.

About Suit for Specific Performance

  • Specific performance is a remedy developed by the principle of equity.
  • It is dealt with under Specific Relief Act, 1963.
  • Parties to an agreement may insert a specific performance clause into the contract to protect their interests in the event of a breach of contract by either party, especially when the awarding of a monetary award may be deemed inadequate.
  • A party to a contract who is damaged because the contract is breached by another party has the option to file a suit for specific performance compelling him to perform his part of the contract.
  • Before an equity court will compel specific performance, however, the contract must be one that can be specifically performed.
  • Section 16(c) of the Act envisages that the plaintiff must plead and prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract that are to be performed by him, other than those terms whose performance of which has been prevented or waived by the defendant.
  • As the law of specific performance is basically founded on equity, considerations such as conduct of the plaintiff, the element of hardship that may be caused to one of the parties, the availability of adequate alternative relief, and such other matters are taken into consideration.
  • It is a discretionary relief. It is typically enforced by a court when money cannot adequately compensate the injured party and when the contractual obligation is unique or difficult to value.
  • In our country, most of the specific performance suits relate to sales of immoveable properties and, to some extent, the transfer of shares.
  • For example, a contract for the sale of a specific piece of property, from which the owner pulls out, may result in a specific performance order requiring the seller to complete the sale to put the buyer in the position they would have enjoyed if the contract had been honored in the first place.

Q1) What is a civil suit?

A civil suit relates to the legal rights and obligations between two or more persons or institutions. In the event that the parties concerned cannot resolve a dispute themselves, either party may start a civil litigation. This is done in order to seek an independent and impartial tribunal's or court's determination as to whether one's legal rights and obligations are being infringed, and if so, to obtain appropriate compensation and remedy.

Source: 'Should Not Have Waited For 13 Years ': Supreme Court Dismisses Specific Performance Suit Filed In 1999 For Sale Agreement Of 1986