Summary of The Specific Relief Act, 1963
The Specific Relief Act,1963, an act to define and amend the law relating to certain kinds of Special Relief. This Act is a replacement of the earlier act of 1877. The mission of the Special Relief Act is “Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium”, i.e. where there is right, there is remedy. The Act does not confer any rights in itself. It only provides a specific so as to remedy the violation of a legal right. The network of reliefs allowed by the Act falls under the following outlines:
- Recovery of possession of property.
- Specific performance of contracts.
- Rectification and cancellation of instruments and recession of contracts.
- Preventive relief.
- Declaratory relief.
Important definitions :
The Specific Relief Act is not exhaustive of all kinds of specific reliefs. The Act is not limited to specific performance of contracts as the statute governs powers of the court in granting reliefs in a variety of fields. Some important definitions mentioned in the Act are specified in section 2 of the Act. The definitions are:
- Obligation- includes every duty enforceable by law.
- Settlement- means instrument whereby the devolution or destination of successive interests in movable or immovable property is disposed of or is agreed to be disposed of;
- Trust- includes obligation in the nature of a trust within the meaning of Chapter IX of that Act;
- Trustee- includes every person holding property in trust;
Recovery of possession of property:
The very first chapter of the Specific Relief Act, provides relief to those who have been dispossessed of their property. Sections 5, 6, 7, and 8 are included in this chapter. Section 5 provides that a person entitled to the possession of the specific immovable property may recover it in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Section 6, talks about the suit by a person dispossessed of immovable property, wherein it is said that, if a person if dispossessed without his consent of immovable property otherwise than in due course of law, he or any person claiming through him may, by suit recover possession thereof, notwithstanding any other title that may be set up in such a suit. Possession here means legal possession. Section 7 talks about the recovery of movable property. And finally section 8 talks about the liability of a person in possession, not as a owner, to deliver to person entitled to immediate possession.
Specific performance of contracts:
The Specific Performance is equitable relief given by court in case of breach of contract in the form of a judgement that the defendant is to actually perform the contract according to its terms and stipulations. This chapter includes sections 9 to 26. Wherein Section 10, specifically talks about the cases in which specific performance is enforceable and the contracts which are specifically enforceable. Section 12, deals which the contracts whose only a part is ought to specifically enforced. The Act tells us that any contract, where there exists no standard for ascertaining the actual damage caused by the non-performance of the act agreed to be done, can be enforced. Section 15 mentions who may obtain specific relief, some of which are- either of the parties, the representatives of the parties, etc.
Recession of Contracts:
The recession of contract necessarily constitutes a bar to its performance by either of the party to it. The grounds for bringing about recession are mentioned in the sections 27 and 28 of the Act. Some of which include the cases where:
- the contract is voidable by the plaintiff;
- the contract is unlawful for causes not apparent on its face and the defendant is more to blame than the plaintiff; etc.
The relief of recession is available subject to very important limits. This is so because every voidable contract is valid as long as it not avoided. If the relief of recession is not quickly obtained, circumstances may so seriously change that it may not be desirable to put an end to the contract.
Rectification of Instruments:
Section 26 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, provides remedy for rectification of instruments. The term “instrument” has been defined in the Section 2 of The Indian Stamp Act, as “ every document by which any right or liability is or purports to be created, transferred, limited, extended, extinguished, or recorded. A suit therefore lies for the rectification of a will, a decree, and also for the rectification of an award-decree on the ground of fraud.
Cancellation of Instruments:
Section 31 to 33 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, provide for cancellation of instruments.
Section 34 and 35 lay down the law relating to declaratory decrees. A declaratory decree is a decree declaratory of a right which is doubtful or which requires to be cleared. The object of declaratory decrees is to prevent future litigation by removing the existing cause of controversy. Section 34 lays down the circumstances under which the declaratory decree may be passed.
The term “injunction” has been defined by Joyce as, “ An order remedial, the general purpose of which is to restrain the commission or continuance of some wrongful act of the party informed.” Lord Halsbury defines injunction as, “An injunction is a judicial process whereby a party is ordered to refrain from doing or to do a particular act or thing.” Injunction acts in personam. It does not run with the property. It may be issued against and for individuals, public bodies, or even the State. Disobedience of an injunction is punishable as contempt of court. There are two types of injunctions: Temporary and Perpetual Injunctions. Temporary Injunctions are such as are to continue until a specified time, or until further order of the court and they may be granted at any stage of a suit, and are regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. A perpetual injunction can only be granted by the decree made at hearing,
Author: Vaishnavi Makne,
Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur