While affirming concurrent judgments dismissing a suit for specific performance, the Supreme Court briefly explained the questions which are to be considered in such a suit.
Reiterating that the grant of relief of specific performance is a discretionary and equitable relief, the bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra in Kamal Kumar vs. Premlata Joshi, listed out the requirements to be answered in a specific performance suit. Those are:
1. Whether there exists a valid and concluded contract between the parties for sale/purchase of the suit property?
2. Whether the plaintiff has been ready and willing to perform his part of contract and whether he is still ready and willing to perform his part as mentioned in the contract?
3. Whether the plaintiff has, in fact, performed his part of the contract and, if so, how and to what extent and in what manner he has performed and whether such performance was in conformity with the terms of the contract?
4. Whether it will be equitable to grant the relief of specific performance to the plaintiff against the defendant in relation to suit property or it will cause any kind of hardship to the defendant and, if so, how and in what manner and the extent if such relief is eventually granted to the plaintiff?
5. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to grant of any other alternative relief, namely, refund of earnest money etc. and, if so, on what grounds?
The court said that these questions are part of the statutory requirements (Sections 16 (c), 20, 21, 22, 23 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and the forms 47/48 of Appendix A to C of the Code of Civil Procedure).
"These requirements have to be properly pleaded by the parties in their respective pleadings and proved with the aid of evidence in accordance with law. It is only then the Court is entitled to exercise its discretion and accordingly grant or refuse the relief of specific performance depending upon the case made out by the parties on facts", the bench added.
The court added that issue of readiness and willingness is the most important issue for considering the grant of specific performance of the contract.
In the facts of the case, the bench, while dismissing the appeal, said: "We find that the two Courts below have gone into these questions in the light of pleadings and evidence and recorded a categorical finding against the plaintiff holding that the plaintiff 5 was neither ready and nor willing to perform his part of the contract and, therefore, he was not entitled to claim the relief of specific performance of the contract against the defendants in relation to the suit land."
Read the Judgment Here