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SPECIFIC RELIEF vs. SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE

Specific Relief is a wider concept than Specific Performance.

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Specific Relief Act, 1963 works on the objective that wherever there is a wrong there is a remedy. It provides specific relief so as toprovide remedy for the infringement of a legal right. The various reliefs provided under this act are Recovery of possession of property, Specific Performance of Contract, Rectification and Cancellation of Instruments, Rescission of Contracts, Preventive Relief and Declaratory Relief.Whereas Law of Contract provides remedy of damages for breach of contract.The Contract is an agreement upon consideration to do or not to do particular thing, if the person on whom this contractual obligation falls, fails to discharge it, other party has right to ask for actual performance of contract or to receive compensation for non-performance of it. It is dealt in Sections 73-75 of Indian Contract Act, 1872.

The injured party may reach a court of equity for specific performance, when the legal remedy of pecuniary damages does not fulfill the adequate relief. Section 9 of Specific Relief Act, 1963 ‘’provides for defenses respecting suits for relief based on contract. It provides where any relief is claimed under this chapter in respect of contract, the person against whom the relief is claimed may plead by way of defense any ground which is available to him under any law relating to contracts’’.

The Specific Relief Act, 1963 deals with enforcement of individual civil rights at the discretion of court for granting remedies. But the LokSabha has recently passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill 2018, which brings the significant amendments to this Act of 1963. One of the major features of amendment is that it makes the grant of specific Performance of Contracts mandatory, by taking away the discretionary powers of the court. And talking about Specific Performance it is the most effective remedy that protects the right of the aggrieved/innocent party by providing a provision for completion of previously established transaction.

The common remedy available to the aggrieved party is compensation or damages of loss suffered when there is a breach of contract and for this a civil suit is filed against the party who is in default for not performing his duty or obligation (known as the guilty party/defendant), under Indian Contract Act, 1872 under sections 73-75. But sometimes the aggrieved party (plaintiff) is not satisfied with the pecuniary/monetary compensation so he may ask for specific relief. Let us understand this concept with an example: - K who is having a peaceful possession over the property but P unlawfully disposes a person without his consent, then K may ask for specific relief which will enable him to enjoy the possession of same property instead of claiming pecuniary compensation.

To conclude, we can say that Specific Relief gives relief of specific type rather than a genral/common relief or damages or compensation whereas Specific Performance means enforcement of exact terms of contract as under it the plaintiff claims specifically of which he is entitled according to the terms of contract. A specific relief can be considered remedial when the court orders the specific performance of contract and when the court declares an injunction to a suit the specific relief can be considered as protective.

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