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Specific Performance: Plea Of Hardship Cannot Be Raised If Not Pleaded In Written Statement: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
10 May 2019 6:28 AM GMT
Specific Performance: Plea Of Hardship Cannot Be Raised If Not Pleaded In Written Statement: SC [Read Judgment]
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“The plea raised on behalf of the vendor on hardship cannot be permitted to be raised now, more particularly when no such plea was raised/taken in the written statement”

The Supreme Court has observed that a defendant in a specific performance suit should plead in his written statement the hardship that will be caused if the decree of specific performance of the contract is passed against him. Otherwise, such plea cannot be permitted to be raised in a later stage, the bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah said while confirming...

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The Supreme Court has observed that a defendant in a specific performance suit should plead in his written statement the hardship that will be caused if the decree of specific performance of the contract is passed against him.

Otherwise, such plea cannot be permitted to be raised in a later stage, the bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah said while confirming the judgment and decree passed by the trial Court for specific performance of the agreement to sell dated 30.12.1985.

In Beemaneni Maha Lakshmi vs. Gangumalla Appa Rao, the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed appeal against a Trial Court decree of specific performance directing the defendant to execute the sale deed with respect to property admeasuring 17 acres 39 cents.

As the Apex Court bench refused to interfere on the aspect of readiness and willingness of the plaintiff, the defendant raised a plea that if the decree for specific performance of the contract is passed after number of years, it would cause undue hardship to the defendant – vendor. Addressing this contention, the bench noted that in the written statement the defendant has not pleaded any hardship to be caused if the decree of specific performance of the contract is passed against the defendant – vendor. It said:

"At this stage, the decision of this Court in the case of A. Maria Angelena v. A.G. Balkis Bee, reported in AIR 2002 SC 2385 is required to be referred to. In the aforesaid case, the vendor sought to raise the plea of hardship for the first time before this Court and this Court did not permit the vendor to raise such a plea of hardship by observing that as no plea as to hardship if relief for specific performance is granted was raised by the defendant – vendor in written statement nor any issue was framed that the plaintiff – purchaser could be compensated in terms of the money in lieu of decree for specific performance, such plea cannot be entertained for the first time in appeal by way of SLP, more so, when there are concurrent findings that the plaintiff was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract has been recorded by the lower courts. Therefore, the plea raised on behalf of the vendor on hardship cannot be permitted to be raised now, more particularly when no such plea was raised/taken in the written statement"

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