RECENT RELEVANT JUDGEMENTS- SPECIFIC RELIEF ACT, 1963.
I. Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Ltd. Vs. KS Infraspce LLP Ltd. & Anr. [CIVIL APPEAL NO(s). 9346 OF 2019]
Coram: NAVIN SINHA, J., Ashok Bhushan, J.
“15. Chapter VII, Section 36 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) provides for grant of preventive relief. Section 37 provides that temporary injunction in a suit shall be regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure. The grant of relief in a suit for specific performance is itself a discretionary remedy. A plaintiff seeking temporary injunction in a suit for specific performance will therefore have to establish a strong prima ¬facie case on basis of undisputed facts. The conduct of the plaintiff will also be a very relevant consideration for purposes of injunction. The discretion at this stage has to be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily.”
II. Ravi Setia Vs. Madan Lal & Ors. [2019 (9) SCC 381]
Coram: Navin Sinha, J., Indira Banerjee, J.
“10. The grant of relief for specific performance under Section 16 (1)(c) of the Act is a discretionary and equitable relief. Under Section 16 (1)(c), the plaintiff has to demonstrate readiness and willingness throughout to perform his obligations under the contract. The plea that the amount would lie in the bank without interest is unfounded and contrary to normal banking practice. To our mind, this is sufficient evidence of the incapacity or lack of readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff to perform his obligations. Undoubtedly, the time for deposit could be extended under Section 28 of the Act. But the mere extension of time for deposit does not absolve the plaintiff of his obligation to demonstrate readiness and willingness coupled with special circumstances beyond his control to seek such extension. The plaintiff did not aver in the application that he was ready and willing to perform his obligations and was prevented from any special circumstances from doing so. The pendency of an appeal by the defendant did not preclude the plaintiff from depositing the amount in proof of his readiness and willingness. Readiness has been interpreted as capacity for discharge of obligations with regard to payment. The High Court has rightly observed that there was no stay by the Appellate Court of the decree under appeal to justify non¬-deposit during the pendency of the appeal. The grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff. The plaintiff was required to plead sufficient, substantial and cogent grounds to seek extension of time for deposit because otherwise it becomes a question of his conduct along with all other attendant surrounding circumstances in the facts of the case. We therefore find no infirmity in the order of the High Court concluding that the plaintiff in the facts and circumstances was not ready and willing to perform his obligations.”
III. R LAKSHMIKANTHAM Vs. DEVARAJI. [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2420 OF 2018]
Coram: Rohinton Fali Nariman, J., Surya Kant, J.
“Pg. 6: In the aforesaid circumstances, the High Court was also incorrect in putting a short delay in filing the Suit against the plaintiff to state that he was not ready and willing. In India, it is well settled that the rule of equity that exists in England, does not apply, and so long as a Suit for specific performance is filed within the period of limitation, delay cannot be put against the plaintiff – See Mademsetty Satyanarayana v. G. Yelloji Rao and others [AIR 1965 Supreme Court 1405 (paragraph 7)]
IS REGISTRATION OF AGREEMENT TO SELL MANDATORY?
Relevant Statutory Provisions:
S. 17 (1A) of the Registration Act, 1908 :
The documents containing contracts to transfer for consideration, any immovable property for the purpose of section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882) shall be registered if they have been executed on or after the commencement of the Registration and Other Related laws (Amendment) Act, 2001 and if such documents are not registered on or after such commencement, then, they shall have no effect for the purposes of the said section 53A.]
Section 49 in the Registration Act, 1908
Effect of non-registration of documents required to be registered. —No document required by section 17 1[or by any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882)], to be registered shall—
a) affect any immovable property comprised therein, or
b) confer any power to adopt, or
c) be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power, unless it has been registered: 54 [Provided that an unregistered document affecting immovable property and required by this Act or the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882), to be registered may be received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877 (3 of 1877) 55, 56 [***] or as evidence of any collateral transaction not required to be effected by registered instrument.]
AMEER MINHAJ VS DIERDRE ELIZABETH (WRIGHT) ISSAR [2018 (7) SCC 639]
Coram: Dipak Misra, J., A.M. Khanwilkar, J., Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, J.
“12. In the reported decision, this Court has adverted to the principles delineated in K.B. Shah and Sons Private Limited Vs. Development Consultant Limited, and has added one more principle thereto that a document is required to be registered, but if unregistered, can still be admitted as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance. In view of this exposition, the conclusion recorded by the High Court in the impugned judgement that the sale agreement dated 9th July, 2003 is inadmissible in evidence, will have to be understood to mean that the document though exhibited, will bear an endorsement that it is admissible only as evidence of the agreement to sell under the proviso to Section 49 of the 1908 Act and shall not have any effect for the purposes of S. 53A of the 1882 Act. In that, it is received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance and nothing more. The genuineness, validity and binding nature of the document or the fact that it is hit by the provisions of the 1882 Act, as the case may be, will have to be adjudicated at the appropriate stage as noted by the Trial Court after the parties adduce oral and documentary evidence.”