Parliament Passes Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018- Introduces Key Changes

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July 30, 2018

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on July 23, 2018. Earlier, the Bill amending the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

The Key features of the Amendment are enumerated below:

  1. Substituted Section 10 of the Act- the Amendment substitutes Section 10 of the Act providing for Cases in which specific performance of contract is enforceable with a new Section 10 which states that specific performance of a contract shall be enforced by the court subject to the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of section 11, section 14 and section 16.

Thus, through the aforesaid amendment, effort has been made to curtail discretionary powers of the Court while making an order for specific performance of the contract as the cases in which specific performance of contract is enforceable would be subject to Section 11(2) relating to contract made by Trustee in excess of his powers and Section 14 (contracts not specifically enforceable) and Section 16 (personal bars to relief).

  1. Amendment of Section 11- Section 11 at present provides that specific performance of contract may in the discretion of Court be agreed to be done in in performance of a Trust. The amended Section 11 now provides that specific performance of contract shall in the discretion of Court be agreed to be done in in performance of a Trust.
  2. Contracts which cannot be Enforced- The Amendment also seeks to substitute old Section 14 with new Section 14 to state that- The following contracts cannot be specifically enforced, namely:— (a) where a party to the contract has obtained substituted performance of contract in accordance with the provisions of section 20; (b) a contract, the performance of which involves the performance of a continuous duty which the court cannot supervise; (c) a contract which is so dependent on the personal qualifications of the parties that the court cannot enforce specific performance of its material terms; and (d) a contract which is in its nature determinable.
  3. Court’s power to engage Experts– Amendment incorporates Section 14A in the Act, which empowers the court to get expert opinion to assist it on any specific issue involved in the suit.
  4. Specific Performance can be obtained by Limited Liability Partnership- The Amendment inserts sub section (fa) in Section 15 which provides that specific performance can be obtained by a limited liability partnership when the limited liability partnership has entered into a contract and subsequently becomes amalgamated with another limited liability partnership, the new limited liability partnership which arises out of the amalgamation.
  5. Substituted Performance of Contract- The Amendment seeks to amend the Chapter heading from Discretion and Powers of the Court to Substituted Performance of Contract.

The Amendment replaces old Section 20 (Discretion as to decreeing specific performance with new Section 20).

The amended Section 22 states where the contract is broken due to non-performance of promise by any party, the party who suffers by such breach shall have the option of substituted performance 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.

  1. Special provisions for contract relating to infrastructure project- The Amendment incorporates Section 20A which enumerates provision for contract relating to infrastructure project. Section 20A provides that the Court shall not grant any injunction in a suit under this 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.

In the wake of delay in delivery of possession of flats and cases pertaining to the same, new Section 20A is a relief to distressed homebuyers.

The entire Bill cab be accessed here.