Specific Relief Act, 1963 sets out the remedies available to the parties for violation of their civil or contractual rights. The parliament has recently passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (“Bill”). Some of the importance amendments as per the Bill are:
- Specific Performance: One of the main amendments brought by the Bill is amendment to Section 10 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 wherein the discretionary power of the court to grant specific performance has been. Earlier the Courts had the discretion to grant specific performance if either the monetary compensation was inadequate or unascertainable. The Bill now makes the grant of specific performance of contracts by the courts compulsory. Thus the plaintiff can seek specific performance without having to prove specific circumstances.
- Substituted Performance: The Bill has introduced substituted performance wherein if the contract is violated due to non-performance by any party, the party who suffers by such breach shall have the option to get the performance substituted through a third party or by his own agency, and, recover the expenses and other costs actually incurred, spent or suffered by him, from the party committing such breach. The affected party has to give a written notice of atleast 30 days before obtaining such substituted performance.
- Infrastructure Projects: The amendment introduces a special category of infrastructure projects. No injunction shall be granted by a court in a suit under the Act involving a contract relating to an infrastructure project, where granting injunction would cause impediment or delay in the progress or completion of such infrastructure project. Infrastructure projects mean those projects which are mentioned in the Schedule of the Bill such as transport, energy, water and sanitation, communication, and social and commercial infrastructure such as affordable housing etc.
- Special Courts: The State Government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, shall designate, one or more civil courts as special courts, within the local limits of the area to exercise jurisdiction and to try a suit in relation to infrastructure projects.
- Time limit for disposal of cases: The Bill seeks to fix a time limit of 12 months from the date of service of summons to the defendant for disposal of cases. It may be extended for 6 months, if reasonable.
- The amendment will come into force with effect from the date of notification of the same by the Central Government in the official gazette.