Specific Relief Act, 1963 defines and amends
laws relating to specific relief including specific performance
of an immovable property. This Act provides for specific relief
for the purpose of enforcing individual civil rights
and not for the mere purpose of enforcing civil law
and includes all the cases where the Court can order specific
performance of an enforceable contract.
'Specific performance' is a form of equitable relief which
a court dispenses, by ordering one party to perform a definite
and certain contract what the party has promised to perform.
Its use mostly arises when a seller of land changes his mind
and refuses to perform the terms of the Agreement. The aggrieved
party may approach a Court for specific performance of a contract.
The Court will direct the offender party to fulfill his part
of obligations as per the enforceable contract.
The Act applies to movable and immovable properties. The Act is enforceable in the following cases:
- When there is no standard for ascertaining the actual damages caused by the non-performance of the contract.
- When the compensation in money would not be an adequate relief in the prevalent conditions.
But, all the contracts are not specifically enforced.
Time frame for filing a suit:
As per the provisions of the Act, a person dispossessed of immovable property without his consent (other than in due course of law) can recover possession by filing a suit within six months from the date of dispossession.
Powers of the Court:
The Court, however has discretionary powers on granting specific performance and can impose any reasonable condition including payment of an additional amount by one party to the other. Also, the Act stipulates the fulfillment of certain necessary ingredients/conditions and provides that the Court shall not direct the specific performance unless those necessary ingredients have been made out to the satisfaction of the Court.
Bars to the relief:
The Act states that the specific performance of contract cannot
be granted in favour of a person/party:
- Who would not be entitled to recover compensation for its breach
- Who has become incapable of performing some essential terms of the contract or violates them
- Who fails to state and provide convincing proof as to his performance or readiness and willingness to perform the essential terms of the contract.
As per the provisions of Act, it is presumed that:
Breach of a contract to transfer immovable property cannot be relieved by monetary compensation. That is, unless the contrary is proved, in a suit for specific performance of a Contract, the Court in normal circumstances shall presume that a Contract to transfer immovable property is one in which monetary compensation for its non-performance will not afford adequate relief. The Court is empowered to grant a permanent/mandatory injunction preventing the breach of such contract and award damages.
- The Act is the 47th Act of 1963.
- This is a complimentary Act to Contact Act and Transfer of Property Act.
- The Act was originally passed during British rule in 1877.
- Later, it was amended in 1963.