Specific Reliefs Act ,1963
SpecificReliefs Act is complimentary to provisions of Contract Act and Transfer ofProperty Act, as the Act applies both to movable property and immovable property.The Act applies in cases where Court can order specific performance of acontract or act. As per section 4, specific relief can be granted only forpurpose of enforcing individual civil rights and not for the mere purpose ofenforcing a civil law.
‘Specificperformance’ means Court will ask the party to perform his part of agreement,instead of asking him to pay damages to other party.
Recoveringpossession of immovable property – * A person who is entitled topossession of a specific immovable property may recover it in the mannerprovided in Code of Civil Procedure. (section 5) * If any person is disposedwithout his consent, of immovable property otherwise than by course of law, hecan recover possession, even if any other title is set up in such suit. Suchsuit shall be brought within 6 months. No suit can be filed against Governmentfor recovery of possession. [section 6]. - - That is why it is termed as‘possession is 9 points in law’. Even an unlawful possession of immovableproperty can be taken away only by lawful means and not forcefully.
Recoveringpossession of specific movable property – * A person who is entitled topossession of a specific movable property may recover it in the manner providedin Code of Civil Procedure. (section 7) * If any person is in possession orcontrol of a specific movable property of which he is not owner, he can becompelled to specifically deliver it to the person entitled to immediatepossession, in cases specified in section 6. - - Thus, if a person holdingthe movable property is owner of goods, he cannot be compelled to deliver it toother. However, in other cases, he can be compelled to deliver it, even ifother person is not owner, as long as he is entitled to its immediatepossession.
Specificperformance of contract – Specific performance of contract can beordered, at discretion of Court, in following cases – (a) Where there exists nostandard for ascertaining damage caused by the non-performance of act agreed tobe done or (b) When the act agreed to be done is such that compensation inmoney for non-performance will not give sufficient relief. [section 10]. As perexplanation (ii) to section 10, breach of contract in respect of movableproperty can be relieved (by paying damages) unless the property is not anordinary article of commerce or is of specific value or interest to the tariff,or consists of goods which are not easily available in the market. - - In otherwords, Court may order to deliver specific article only if it is special orunique article, not available in market. In other cases, Court will orderdamages but not order specific performance of contract. - - In case ofimmovable property, normally, specific performance will be ordered, as suchproperty is usually unique. - - Section 12(1) states that Court shall not orderperformance of part of contract, except in cases specified in that section.
Contractswhich cannot be specifically enforced – Following contracts cannotspecifically enforced – (a) Where compensation is adequate relief (b) Contractruns into such minute or numerous details or depends on personal qualificationsof parties or is such that Court cannot enforce specific performance of itsmaterial terms (c) Contract which in its nature is determinable (d) Contract,performance of which involves a continuous duty, which Court cannot supervise.[section 14]. - - In other words, in case of movable articles or contract ofintricate nature, specific performance will normally not be ordered by Court. -- Specific performance of contract of personal nature cannot be ordered.
Discretionarypowers of Court – Jurisdiction of Court to decree specificperformance is discretionary. Court will not order specific performance merelybecause it is lawful to do so. [section 20(1)]. Court will consider variousaspects before issuing decree for specific performance. - - Court can grantcompensation in lieu of even in addition to specific performance. [section 21].
Other caseswhen Court can order specific performance – (a) Order rectification of instrumentif it does not reflect real intention of parties. This may happen through fraudor mutual mistake. [section 26] (b) Order rescission of contract (section 27)(c) Cancellation of instrument by getting declared that it is void(section 31).