Extension of Time to Deposit does not Absolve Plaintiff from proving Readiness & Willingness under Specific Relief

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The Supreme Court consisting of bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee observed that mere extension of time for deposit of balance sale consideration does not absolve the plaintiff of obligation to prove readiness and willingness to perform his part in an agreement for sale.

The grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff.

The HC noted that plaintiff had not deposited the balance sale consideration within the prescribed time. Extension of time for deposit was sought by the plaintiff on frivolous grounds. On these factors, the HC deduced that the plaintiff had not proved his “readiness and willingness” as per Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

 Under Section 16(1)(c) reproduced hereudner, the plaintiff has to demonstrate readiness and willingness throughout to perform his obligations under the contract for getting a decree of specific performance of contract.

Section 16(c) in The Specific Relief Act, 1963

(c) who fails to aver and 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. Explanation. —For the purposes of clause (c), —

(i) where a contract involves the payment of money, it is not essential for the plaintiff to actually tender to the defendant or to deposit in court any money except when so directed by the court;

(ii) the plaintiff must aver performance of, or readiness and willingness to perform, the contract according to its true construction.

 The grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff. The plaintiff was required to plead sufficient, substantial and cogent grounds to seek extension of time for deposit because otherwise it becomes a question of his conduct along with all other attendant surrounding circumstances in the facts of the case.”

 The apex court dismissed the appeal.

Source:  Livelaw.com