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Property Lawyer: Readiness and Willingness in specific performance suit should be continuing; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice R. Banumathi and Justice A.S. Bopanna

In the present case, the decree   for   specific   performance   was   declined by the trial court  and   the alternate relief directing the defendant to pay the sum of Rs. 75 Lakhs with interest at 9% per annum was granted.  The plaintiffs claiming to be aggrieved by the same had preferred the appeal  before the High Court of Kerala. The Division Bench of   the   High   Court   through  its   judgment   dated 21.08.2018, set aside the judgment passed by the trial court and has allowed the appeal and granted decree of specific performance. The defendant/ appellant preferred the appeal before the SC.

The SC in present case, while relying upon N.P. Thirugnanam (dead) by L.Rs  vs.  Dr.  R. Jagan  Mohan  Rao  and  Ors.  (1995) 5 SCC   1150, holds  that   in   the   absence   of showing   continuous readiness   and   willingness   on   the part  of  the   plaintiff,   the   relief   of   specific   performance would not arise.

It was held by the SC {Abdullakoya Haji & Ors. v. Rubis Tharayil & Anr.} that the amount shown by the plaintiff/ respondent will have to be taken as being made available at one point in time by juggling the figures and was not shown available for payment at the relevant point when the suit was filed. It was, therefore, held that on exclusion of the same the remaining amount through  Exhibit   A11   to   A13   would   be   in­sufficient to indicate that as on date of filing the suit they had the entire   remaining  balance   sale   consideration   and   were ready and willing to complete the transaction. It was held, in that circumstance,   the   deposit   presently   made   after   the judgment is rendered by the High Court to the reduced extent   would   not   be   of  assistance   as   there   would   be change in the circumstances after more than a decade, as against what the position was in the year 2007.

It was further held that  when   not   only   the availability of fund was satisfactorily explained but in a circumstance where the first plaintiff had entered into an agreement dated 23.10.2007 in favour of Shri Ali Khan in respect of the very same properties even before securing the sale deed in their favour, the bonafides would also become relevant  when  the  specific performance as an equitable relief is taken into consideration.  It was held by the SC that the   Trial   Court   while   declining   the   relief   of   specific performance   has   appropriately   granted   the   decree   for realisation of the sum of Rs. 75 Lakhs with interest at 9% per annum. 

Finally, the SC to protect the interest of the plaintiffs to recover the said amount,  directed the defendants to refund the amount to the plaintiffs within a time frame, failing which the amount is to be paid with the higher rate of interest. Further, the SC directed charge is to be created over the suit schedule properties to ensure repayment of the amount.  

Resultantly, the specific performance was declined by the SC and only refund was granted while setting aside the judgment of the HC.

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