Court obliged to enforce Specific Performance of Contract after 2018 Amendment

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in B. Santoshamma & Anr. V. D. Sarla & Anr. [ Civil Appeal No. 3574 of 2009] held that the relief for Specific Performance of a Contract is not discretionary post 2018 amendment of the Act.

The Division bench comprising of Hon’ble Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Indra Banerjee while deciding on a question of law pertaining to the interpretation of Specific Relief Act prior to 2018 amendment, observed that After the amendment of Section 10 of the S.R.A., the words “specific performance of any contract may, in the discretion of the Court, be enforced” have been substituted with the words “specific performance of a contract shall be enforced subject to …”. The Court is, now obliged to enforce the specific performance of a contract, subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 11, Section 14 and Section 16 of the S.R.A. Relief of specific performance of a contract is no longer discretionary, after the amendment.”

While referring to S. 12 of the Specific Relief Act the Hon’ble Court observed that Section 12 of the SRA is to be construed and interpreted in a purposive and meaningful manner to empower the Court to direct specific performance by the defaulting party, of so much of the contract, as can be performed, in a case like this. To hold otherwise would permit a party to a contract for sale of land, to deliberately frustrate the entire contract by transferring a part of the suit property and creating third party interests over the same. 88. Section 12 has to be construed in a liberal, purposive manner that is fair and promotes justice. A contractee who frustrates a contract deliberately by his own wrongful acts cannot be permitted to escape scot free.”


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