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SPECIFIC RELIEF ACT, 1963 Indian Contract Act, 1872 provides relief of compensation in case of breach of contract, but there are stances where the grant of compensation would not afford adequate relief. There are also circumstances tice could be rendered only when the defendant was refrained from trespassing or prevented from ng the right of the plaintiff. In such cases grant of compensation could not grant adequate relief or render stice Thus, to provide certain reliefs in appropriate cases such as specific performance of contract and injunctions, the Specific Relief Act, 1877 was enacted.

Later the Specific Relief Act of 1877 was replaced with the Specific Relief Act, 1963 to cope with the changing and circumstances. The Act of 1963 came into force with effect from 1 March 1964. The Act applies to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018

The Statement History of Objects and Reasons to the amendment bill provides that the Amendment Act has been nated to bring the law in tune with rapid economic growth and the expansion of infrastructure activities in the quntry. The Amendment Act has been enacted with the primary intent of bringing greater certainty in mforcement of contracts and enabling faster and easier resolution of contractual disputes. The Amendment Act eved the Presidential assent on 1 August 2018and the Amendment Act came into force with effect from 1st October 2018.

Key Highlightsof the Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018

1. The discretion of courts to grant specificperformance has been done away with and the specific performance of contracts has been made a general rule than exception. Going forward, the courts will no longer have the discretion and must grant specific performance unless expressly barred by the provisions of the SpecificRelief Act, 1963 i.e., sections 11(2), 14 and 16.

2. The primacy given to the relief for damagesover specific performance has been removed. The settled grounds that specific performance can only be granted when either the damages cannot not be ascertained or when monetary compensation is not adequate will no longer be applicable.

3. The Amendment Act provides for substituted performance of contracts. Thus, where a contract is broken, the party who suffers would be entitled to get the contract performed by a third party or by his own agency and to recover expenses and costs, including compensation from the party who failed to perform his part of contract.

4. The substituted performance of contracts would be an alternative remedy at the option of the suffering party.

5. A new section 14A has been added which provides forengagement of experts to assist on specific issues involved in a case.

6. * A new section 20A hasbeen added for contracts relating to infrastructure projects. The new section 20A provides that the court shall not grant injunction in any suit, where it appears to it that granting injunction would cause hindrance or delay in the continuance or completion of the infrastructure projects.

7. Special courts have been designated to try suits in respect of contracts relating to infrastructureprojects and to dispose of such suits within a period of twelve months from the date of serviceof summons to the defendant.

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