Specific relief is a judicial remedy or redress for the purpose of enforcing the civil rights of the individuals. It is part of the procedural law i.e., the Civil Procedure Code. The Specific Relief Act 1963 has replaced the Specific Relief act of 1877 and is operative from 1st March 1963.
The various specific reliefs provided for in the Act are as follows:
Recovery of possession of immovable property
Recovery of possession of movable property
Specific performance of contracts
Rectification of instruments
Rescission of a contract
Cancellation of instrument
Preventive reliefs i.e., injunctions they are Temporary, perpetual and Mandatory injunctions
Recovery of dispossessed immovable property :
The specific relief act in Sees. 5 & 6 provide for the recovery of specific immovable property
by a person who is entitled either as a owner or as a possessor. The object is to provide for a special and speedy remedy for dispossession. If a person is dispossessed of his immovable property without consent and not under a court order, such a person may file a suit to recover the possession of specific immovable property.
The court will not enquire here into the title of the person. The suit must be brought within six months from the date of dispossession. Dispossession means, loss of physical possession, of the immovable property. Dispossession made legally through the order of the court is not the subject matter.
Eg : A is tenant and D is the owner of a premises. A sub-leases to B. At the time of vacating, B delivers the premises to C who is the purchaser of the premises from D. A dispossess C. Held : C was entitled to recover possession from A.
There is no review or appeal from the decision of the court. No suit can be filed against the
State Govt. or Central Govt. under this section.
Scope : The remedy provided here does not bar any person from suing in a civil court to establish his title and to recover possession thereof under the civil procedure code.
Recovery of dispossessed movable property :
The Specific Relief Act, in Sns. 7 and 8 ,deal with the recovery of possession of specific
movable property. The procedure provided in the Civil Procedure Code may be followed :
i) A trustee may sue and recover movables, to protect the interest of the beneficiary.
ii) Further, under this section, a special or temporary right to the present possession of movable property is sufficient. Just like the specific remedy in respect of dispossession of immovable property, provisions are made here to recover specific movable property. If a person who is not a owner is in possession of having control over specific movable property, he may be compelled specifically to deliver it to the person who is entitled to its immediate possession The circumstances are as follows :
1) When the thing is held by the defendant who is an agent or trustee of the plaintiff. A gave his special diamond necklace to B to put on A's daughter for the wedding. B pledged it with C who sold to K. Held, A may recover the specific necklace which was with K.
2) When compensation in money would not be adequate relief for the loss of the thing claimed, the court will grant specific relief. An ancient Hercules Statue, Hindu family Idol, a memento etc., are items where money compensation is not the proper relief. Hence, specific relief is granted.
3) When it would be extremely difficult to ascertain the actual damage caused by the loss.
Paintings of Leonardo do Vinci, Raja Ravi Varma etc belong to this group.
4) When the possession of an article has been wrongfully transferred from the plaintiff.
Presumption : The court makes a presumption that the compensation would not be an adequate relief when it would be extremely difficult to ascertain the actual damage. Hence, the burden of proving the contrary is on the defendant