Relief against parties and persons under the specific relief act.

Author: Meenakshi Raj,

Relief against parties and person under the Specific Relief Act


Since the dawn of human civilization, violation of a person’s rights has been a baffling problem. There is hardly any society that is without a problem of rights being violated. It is a violation of law in which injury is caused to a man by another man and remedies for the same are provided under the law.

Specific Relief Act-

When a man’s civil or contractual rights are violated, the Act made by the Parliament of India provides remedies to them.

The Specific Relief Act of 1963, which replaced the earlier Act of 1877, is a parliamentary act which takes into consideration, the infringement or breach of trust of one individual or a group by another man.

Short title, extent, and commencement-

  • This Act may be called the Specific Relief Act, 1963.
  • It extends to the whole of India.
  • It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

Remedies provided under the Specific Relief Act-1963

To make a man overcome the problems faced, certain remedies are granted by the Court under the provision of the Specific Relief Act. these are:-

  • Recovery of possession of the property– A property can be divided into two types-
  • Immovable Property– A property that cannot be moved from one place to another is called an immovable or real property.

Illus. – A gave his immovable property to B for a lifetime. In meanwhile, he made C as the third party and the property after B’s death would go to C. C, without B’s consent took the property. Since B had the legal right to A’s property and C took the property without B’s consent, B has the right to take C to court for the illegal possession of the property and violating B’s rights.

A person entitled to the possession of a specific immovable property may recover it in a manner provided in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

  • Movable Property- A property that a man owns and can carry with him is called a movable property. A movable property may also be called personal property.

Illus. –  S gave certain goods to Mr. T to give to Mr. P. T agreed to Mr. S’s proposal and became a trustee of S. Another man Mr. Q came and took the goods given by S to P without informing P. Here, P despite being the owner of the property would be given the right of the specific relief because ultimately he was the one who was given the right of these goods.

A person entitled to the possession of a specific movable property may recover it in a manner provided in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. A trustee may sue for the possession of the movable property to the beneficial interest in which the person for whom he is a trustee is entitled. Secondly, a special or temporary right to the present possession of the movable property is sufficient to support a suit under this section.

  • Specific performance of contracts– ‘Pacta sunt servanda’, which means ‘agreements to be kept’. The word contract has been derived from the Latin word ‘contructus’ which means ‘to work on contract’. A contract forms the basis of almost all the economic relations and to consummate a contract two things are very important – Mutuality and Meeting of minds of the parties.

Illus. – 1. A and B went into an agreement that A would give 1kg rice to B and in return, B would give 2 dozen pens to A. Here, Aand B made a contract.

         2. Money deposited in banks and in other forms of investments is all bound contractually.

Every contract that is made is not an isolated transaction but rather a chain of contracts. If one individual breaks the chain, so breaks the contract. Where in some cases, compensation forms the basis of the contract, in other cases, compensation fails to do justice to the man or the party.

Under the Specific Relief Act, any person against whom the relief is claimed may plead by way of defense any ground which is available to him under any law relating to contracts.

  • Rectification of instruments – The act of correcting something means to rectify. Of all the transactions made, most are made mandatory to be in writing. Here, a written transaction is called an instrument. When two parties decide to put their deal in the written pattern, there lies certain chances of things being misspelled or wrongly written, which affects the agreements made and the party suffers. To help the people overcome such a problem, rectification of instruments is included in the Specific Relief Act.

Chapter III of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 states that-

  1. When, through fraud or mutual mistake of the parties, a contract or any other instrument in writing does not express the real intention, then-
  2. Either party or his representative in interest may constitute a suit to have the instrument rectified
  3. The plaintiff may, in any suit in which any right arising under the instrument is in issue, claim in his pleading that the instrument be rectified, or
  4. A defendant in any such suit as referred to in the above clause, may, in addition to any other defense upon him, ask for the rectification of instruments.
  5. If the court finds that the instrument does not express the real intention of the parties, the court may, in its discretion, directly rectify the instrument so that no prejudice is done to the third person/party involved.
  6. A contract in writing may first be rectified, and then if the party claiming rectification has so prayed in his pleading and the court thinks fit, it may be specifically enforced.
  • Rescission of contracts- Dictionary defines the word rescission as ‘to repeal, to abrogate or to revoke’ an agreement, order or a contract. Under the law, specifically, the contract law, if on any person, the burden of a contract is imposed through various means including, fraud, irregularity, illegality or something that makes the contract either void or voidable then, that person may ask the court to declare the contract as non-binding.
  • Cancellation of instruments- When at the time or writing a contract, some point ahead, a mistake or fraud is found in the instrument which makes the contract either void or voidable. On the other hand, there comes a situation when a person, after a point of time of him being a party to a contract, realizes the contract or the instrument to be found void or has always been void but never known to the party. Chapter V of the Specific Relief Act provides relief from such documents.
  • Declaratory decrees- When an individual is entitled to some character or status or possesses a right over some property and the same is denied to him by the other party, he can then, proceed to the court against the other person, who is denying or is interested in denying the man the rights that he deserves.

Chapter VI of the Specific Relief Act,1963 states that any person entitled to any legal character, or to any right as to a property, the court may in its discretion make therein a declaration that the person is entitled and shall not need any other relief. To be kept in mind is the fact that, the declaration made is only binding to the parties of the suit and such parties would be the trustees.

  • Preventive relief- A relief that prevents a person to do any act that is not liable to be done. When the court prevents an individual or a party from doing what he has undergone an obligation not to do is called a preventive relief. In these types of cases, the nature of the contract does not allow damages to serve any purpose.

Illus.- A constructs a wall on B’s land. At the suit of B by providing him preventive relief, A can be prohibited to do so because A is not liable to do so.

Under the Specific Relief Act, preventive relief is granted to a party according to Section 36 of the Act. The mode of relief is an Injunction, which is either temporary or permanent.

Amendments made in the year 2018-

As the time changes, there arises a need to bring certain changes to the Acts as well. New amendments have been made to the Specific Relief Act of 1963. These are:-

  1. The Parliament has widened the scope for a suit under-recovery of possession, Sec. 6 of the Act. it now reads as, a suit can be filed by a person who was dispossessed without his consent or through ‘any person he has been in possession’, or any person claiming through that person.
  2. Sec 10 of the Act, an extremely important section mentions the ‘specific power of a contract as a rule and not as an alternative’ in the cases.
  3. Section 15 which deals with the persons who may obtain specific performance, now includes limited liability partnership (LLP) as well.
  4. Section 41 enlists the situations in which Injunction cannot be granted. This includes the instruments which would delay or impede the progress of any infrastructural project or interfere with the continued provision of the relevant facility of the project.