Declaratory Degrees under Specific Relief Act


Author: Mansi Rana, UPES, Dehradun


A declaratory decree is a decree that declares the rights of the plaintiff. This is a binding statement, according to which the court declares certain existing rights in favor of the plaintiff, and the declarative decree only exists when the plaintiff is deprived of the rights that the plaintiff is entitled to. After that, the plaintiff obtained special relief for the defendant who rejected the plaintiff’s rights.

According to Section 34 of the Special Relief Act of 1963, Anyone who is entitled to any legal nature or any property right may bring a lawsuit against anyone who refuses or intentionally denies that he has such nature or right, and the court may make a declaration in his discretion that he is so entitled.

The stipulations of the declarative decree would only allow the plaintiff to survive and be strengthened even under adverse attacks so that the attack on the plaintiff could not weaken his case, which was mentioned in Naganna v. Sivanappa[1]. And through the arguments, in this case, it encourages the plaintiff to come forward and enjoy their rights. If any defendant refuses to provide the plaintiff with any rights that the plaintiff should have, it gives them the power to sue and obtain special relief.

Section 34 states that “if Anyone refuses or intends to reject the plaintiff ’s legitimacy of any property”. Therefore, it is clear that once the plaintiff proves that he has the right to enjoy legal characteristics or property rights, the plaintiff ’s task is not over. Then he has to convince the court that the defendant has denied or intentionally denied his legal characteristics or property rights. Only then he can successfully obtain the required statement. This provision is a verbatim copy of section 42 of the Special Relief Act of 1877. It ensures that victims can not only target everyone who actually has a negative interest for themselves, but also take remedial measures against those who may have a disadvantage for themselves.    


A person claiming declaratory relief must know that he is entitled                                      

  1. The plaintiff is entitled to legal character,
  2. The defendant denied or intentionally denied his ownership of these characters or rights
  3. Property rights
  4. He has sought all relief in the lawsuit.

According to Section 34 of the Special Relief Act of 1963, it puts forward certain conditions that the plaintiff must meet to be able to file an effective lawsuit for the declaration of rights, and the defendant rejected the right. In the State of M.P. vs. Khan Bahadur Bhiwandiwala[2], the court pointed out that in order to obtain the relief for the declaration, the plaintiff must meet the above four conditions.

The purpose of this section is obviously to provide a perpetual bulwark  to prevent adverse attacks on the plaintiff ’s title, because the plaintiff ’s title is overshadowed and to prevent further litigation by eliminating existing causes of dispute. The threat to his legal character must be real, not fictitious. This section does not provide any rules that require people who have any interest in the property now or in the future to ask the court to express an opinion on their ownership.

 It does not guarantee in any form that the plaintiff is entitled to the legal nature or any rights of any property, and it should only guarantee such remedies in exceptional circumstances this was held in Sheoparsan Singh vs. Ramanandan Singh[3]. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant denied or was interested in denying the plaintiff’s character or title. There must be danger or deterrent to his interests. Therefore, a statement must be issued to safeguard his rights and eliminate the haze. The refusal must be notified to the plaintiff in order to give him reasons for litigation.                                               


A person’s status or legal status or “legal character” is composed of the attributes given to him by the law in his personal identity, and the unique signs given by the law. Legal character refers to positions recognized by law. In Hiralal vs. Gulab[4] it was observed that the main identity changes of natural persons can be attributed to the following reasons: Sex, minority, rank, caste, tribe, profession caste, official position, civil death, illegitimacy, etc.


The second requirement is that the person who seeks the remedy must have a right to any property. Those seeking special relief must have the right to any property before they can receive special relief under the Special Relief Act of 1963. The Mumbai High Court made a distinction between “property rights” and “property rights.” In the plaintiff, the plaintiff does not need to display rights in the property. The plaintiff can refuse him only by proving that he owns the property rights. The required declaration should be the same as the plaintiff ’s declaration.

The third condition is for the plaintiff to satisfy the “Declaration” and “Special Relief.” The reason why this is considered indispensable is because it is very necessary to ensure that the plaintiff requires the court to declare the same content as the plaintiff ’s declaration under any property rights.


The fourth and final item that the plaintiff should perform is that the lawsuit filed by the plaintiff should only be announced upon request, and he has no right to receive more. The court will not prosecute excessively in any way for seeking relief. There are no restrictions or any hard-and-fast rules for such cases in which litigation is not just seeking a declaration and seeking relief.


According to the landmark judgment of the Calcutta High Court in the case Manjural haque vs. Bisseswar[5], three types of relief can be obtained from the court through this legal provision:

  • Relief is only declarative and defines rights without giving any relief.
  • Relief by means of the formal declaration, but in fact, the plaintiff was immediately relieved by restoring his deprived rights.
  • The relief claim is an introduction to the relief given by the court.


The word relief has been interpreted to mean something other than rights, and the claimant needs something. This “something” is a relief. Assuming that the plaintiff has taken possession, his or her request to the court is only a statement of his rights, nothing more.

As we all know, declarative decrees only declare and recognize the rights of decrees. This is because the law was changed from the Civil Law of 1859 as described above to the current Special Relief Act.

In earlier laws, the parties must demand declarative decrees and corresponding relief. But in the latter case, one party can only seek a statement. However, in the current law, in some cases, the court’s opinion is that the parties need to request further relief; this was held in  Sivaramalingam Dikshitar vs. Sabharatna Dikshitar[6].


Section 35 clearly stipulates that the declaration made under this article does not have a judgment on the object. Section 35 says:

“The declaration created underneath this chapter is merely binding on the parties to the legal proceeding, the one who created the request through the legal proceeding, and if any of the parties are trustees, the one who exists on the date of the declaration are the trustee.”

Therefore, a declarative decree is binding-

(A) the parties to the lawsuit;

(B) The person who has passed the claim of the party;

(C) Where either party is a trustee,

According to Ram Lal vs Secretary of State[7] it  was held that under section 35 of the Special Relief Act of 1963,  the judgment was only binding on the parties, which is not in rem and does not operate as res-judicata. Any other party that is not the party to the litigation is not subject to section 35 of the Special Relief Act of 1963.

By virtue of this Section, a judgment is binding only if it is inter partes, which is not in rem, and does not operate as res-judicata, may be admissible under Section 13 of the Evidence Act.

CASE LAWS                

In Tarak Chandra Das v. Anukul Chandra Mukherjee[8] it was ruled that if the claim is considered too remote or the declaration is invalid, the court has absolute discretion to refuse relief. In the same case, it is observed that the terms “property rights” indicate that the plaintiff should have the existing rights to any property, not just that the interest in the property will lead to special relief.

Ram Tawaklal Tewari vs. Dulari[9]: There is no hard and fast rule to determine whether such discretionary relief should be granted or refused. The exercise of discretion depends on the opportunity in each case.

Faryad Fatima vs. Mujahid Abbas[10]: There are very few chances of successful inheritance, so there is no right to obtain a declaration declaring the transfer of the limited owner invalid.


The declaratory decree is a provision for the rights of the plaintiff, which gives the plaintiff great powers and can effectively deal with the defendant. In what circumstances and how the court uses its discretion in its analysis, it also helps readers to analyze and understand the concept of “declarative decrees” in the simplest way. According to my point of view and analysis, declarative decrees are a concept, which is broader than it is now, and covers more aspects. The declaration thus is an important part of the discretionary and equitable remedies that are provided by the court.

[1] (1915) ILR 38 Mad 1162

[2]AIR 1971 MP 65

[3]AIR 1916, P.C. 78

[4] 10 CPLR, 1

[5]AIR 1943 Cal 361.

[6]AIR 1919 Mad 233.

[7]ILR, Cal. 304

[8]A1R (1946) Cal. 118

[9]AIR 1934 All. 469

[10]AIR 1931. 1064