On 13th October 2020, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Justice Lok Pal Singh heard the case of Deepak Kapoor and Another v. Satish Chandra Mathur & Others.
The appeal had been preferred by the appellants challenging the judgment and decree passed by Addl. District Judge 7th, Dehradun in the case of Deepak Kapoor and another v. Satish Chandra Mathur and others, whereby the trial court has dismissed the suit for the relief of specific performance of the contract and passed a decree for refund of money amounting to Rs.1,57,000/- along with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum.
Facts of the Case
The respondent executed a registered agreement to sell dated 10.07.1991 in favour of the appellants in respect of land bearing khasra no. 531M, measuring 1456.76 sq. mt., situated at Village Jakhan, Pargana Central Doon, District Dehradun for a total sale consideration of Rs.8,00,000/-. An amount of Rs.10,000/- was paid as advance. The respondent seller was to obtain permission under the Land Ceiling Act, as also Income Tax Clearance. The sale deed was to be executed by 10.01.1992. Allegedly a sum of Rs.92,000/- was paid to the respondent in the first week of August 1991 and a sum of Rs.55,000/- was paid on 16.08.1991. The time was extended up to 10.08.1992 on the request of the respondent.
It was contended that the appellant was ever ready and willing to get the sale deed executed but the respondent committed default and failed to obtain the requisite clearances. It was further contended that the respondent assured the appellants that he would hand over the property free from all encumbrances. However, the respondent intentionally complicated the dispute concerning the passage of the property so that he may not have to execute the sale deed. It was alleged that the appellant(s) remained present in the office of the Sub Registrar on 10.01.1992 with sale consideration and the amount for other expenses, but the respondent failed to appear and rather sought extension of time for which time was extended up to 10.08.1992. Several notices were issued to the respondent to get the sale deed executed. But the appellant remained present in the office of the Sub Registrar along with sale consideration, the value of stamps and registration fee but the respondent did not turn up.
Contentions of the Appellants
Learned counsel for the appellant(s) argued that the appellant did the requisite compliance of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. Section 16 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 speaks about ‘personal bars to relief’. Sec 16 (c) reads as: “specific performance of a contract cannot be enforced in favour of a person who fails to prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract which are to be performed by him, other than terms the performance of which has been prevented or waived by the defendant.”
He placed reliance on the following judgments in support of his contention:
- Motilal Jain Vs Ramdasi Devi (Smt) and others, (2000) 6 SCC 420;
- Guruswamy Nadar Vs P. Lakshmi Ammal (Dead) through LRs, (2008) 5 SCC 796;
- Madhukar Nivrutti Jagtap & others Vs Smt. Pramilabai Chandulal Parandekar & others, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1026.
Contentions of the Respondents
Mr Rajeshwar Singh learned counsel for the respondent argued that neither the plaintiffs had pleaded that they were always ready and willing to purchase the suit property nor were they having the balance sale consideration with them. It was also argued that in such circumstances the trial court should not have passed the decree of refund of money in favour of the plaintiffs.
The Court opined that neither the appellants had pleaded the averment as per the mandate of Section 16(c) of the Act nor had any evidence been led that they were always ready and willing to perform their part of the contract or they had balance sale consideration to be paid to the respondent.
The Court referred to the following judgements which held, “When the agreements in question were for the sale of the suit property, the plaintiffs were entitled to take up the action seeking specific performance. However, to succeed in their claim, the plaintiffs were required to aver and prove that they were always ready and willing to perform their part of the contract”:
- Madhukar Nivrutti Jagtap v. Pramilabai Chandulal Parandekar, 2019;
- Jugraj Singh and another Vs Labh Singh and others, (1995) 2 SCC 31;
- R.K. Mohammed Ubaidullah Vs Hajee C. Abdul Wahab (2000) 6 SCC 402.
The appeal was devoid of merit and was dismissed by the Court. The Court opined that the appellants failed to prove their readiness and willingness that they were always ready and willing to perform their part of the contract. The trial court did not commit any error of fact or law in dismissing the suit for specific performance of the contract and in granting the alternative relief for a refund of money.
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