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Subsequent Purchaser Can Also Challenge Readiness & Willingness Of Plaintiff In A Specific Performance Suit: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Feb 2021 6:57 AM GMT
Subsequent Purchaser Can Also Challenge Readiness & Willingness Of Plaintiff In A Specific Performance Suit: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that subsequent purchaser of the suit property can challenge the readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff in a specific performance suit.In this case, a suit seeking specific performance was dismissed by the Trial Court holding that the plaintiff had failed to prove the genuineness of the agreement. In appeal, the High Court observed that the...

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The Supreme Court observed that subsequent purchaser of the suit property can challenge the readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff in a specific performance suit.

In this case, a suit seeking specific performance was dismissed by the Trial Court holding that the plaintiff had failed to prove the genuineness of the agreement. In appeal, the High Court observed that the subsequent purchasers have got only the right to defend their purchase on the premise that they have no prior knowledge of the agreement of sale with the plaintiff.  Though they are necessary parties to the suit, since any decree obtained by the plaintiff would be binding on the subsequent purchasers, the plea that the plaintiff must always be ready and willing to perform his part of the contract must be available only to the vendor or his legal representatives, but not to the subsequent purchasers, it was held by the High court relying on Jugraj Singh vs. Labh Singh  [(1995) 2 SCC 31].

The Apex Court bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph noted that the principles laid down in the judgment in Jugraj Singh were not approved in Ram Awadh (Dead) vs.Achhaibar Dubey [(2000) 2 SCC428]. It took  note of the following observations made in Ram Awadh:

"The obligation imposed by Section 16 is upon the court not to grant specific performance to a plaintiff who has not met the requirements of clauses (a), (b) and (c) thereof. A court may not, therefore, grant to a plaintiff who has failed to aver and to prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform his part of the agreement the specific performance whereof he seeks. There is, therefore, no question of the plea being available to one defendant and not to another. It is open to any defendant to contend and establish that he mandatory requirement of Section 16(c) has not been complied with and it is for the court to determine whether it has or has not been complied with and, depending upon its conclusion, decree or decline to decree the suit. We are of the view that the decision in Jugraj Singh case [(1995) 2 SCC 31] is erroneous."

In this case, the court noted that the High Court went on the footing that it was not open to the subsequent purchaser to raise any submissions on the issue of readiness and willingness. Therefore, the High Court judgment was set aside and the matter was remitted to it for fresh consideration on merits.

CASE: KADUPUGOTLA VARALAKSHMI vs. VUDAGIRI VENKATA RAO 
CORAM:  Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph 
COUNSEL: Sr. Adv A. Ramalingeswara Rao, Adv S. Spandana Reddy,  AOR G. Ramakrishna Prasad,
CITATION: LL 2021 SC 104



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