Supreme Court of India
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The Official Law Report Fortnightly

Alagammal And Ors Vs. Ganesan And Anr

SCR Citation: [2024] 1 S.C.R. 374
Year/Volume: 2024/ Volume 1
Date of Judgment: 10 January 2024
Petitioner: Alagammal And Ors
Disposal Nature: Appeal Allowed
Netural Citation: 2024 INSC 28
Judgment Delivered by: Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah
Respondent: Ganesan And Anr
Case Type: CIVIL APPEAL /8185/2009
Order/Judgment: Judgment
1. Headnote

Specific Relief Act, 1963 – Specific performance of contract – Time, if essence of contract – Seller and the buyer entered into registered agreement to sell property on 22.11.1990 for a consideration of Rs.21,000/- - Advance payment of Rs. 3000/- received by the seller and the transaction was to be completed within six months – However, on 05.11.1997, seller executed a Sale Deed with regard to the property in question with the third person for a consideration of Rs.22,000/- - Thereafter, issuance of notice by the buyer to the seller calling upon the seller to execute the agreement – Subsequently, suit for specific performance of the Agreement, damages and for recovery of money with interest filed by the buyer against the seller – Dismissal of the suit – Appeal thereagainst allowed by the First Appellate Court, and upheld by the High Court – Correctness:

Held: Within six months there existed the onus of paying the entire balance amount by the buyer to the seller – From the payment of Rs.7,000/- out of Rs.21,000/-, as indicated in the notice sent by the buyer, it is clear that the buyer had not complied with their obligation under the Agreement within the six-month period and neither they offered to pay the remaining/balance amount before the expiry of the six-month period – Seller having accepted payment of Rs.1,000/- on 21.04.1997, after seller had executed a Sale Deed in favour of the third party, coupled with the fact that the forensic expert found the two thumb-impressions purportedly acknowledging payment after the expiry of the time fixed not matching the fingerprints of seller is clearly indicative that time having not been extended, no enforceable right accrued to the buyer for getting relief under the 1963 Act – If the seller had accepted money from buyer after the expiry of the time-limit, which itself has not been conclusively proved during trial or even at the first or second appellate stages, the remedy available to the buyer was to seek recovery of money paid along with damages or interest to compensate such loss but suit for specific performance to execute the Sale Deed would not be available – Furthermore, though the third party was arrayed as a defendant in the suit, yet no relief seeking cancellation of his Sale Deed was sought for – Even if the case of later payments by the buyer to the seller is accepted, the same being at great intervals and there being no willingness shown by them to pay the remaining amount or getting the sale deed ascribed on necessary stamp paper and giving notice to the seller to execute the sale deed, it cannot be said that judged on the anvil of the conduct of parties, especially the seller, time would not remain the essence of the contract – Judgment of the High Court as also the First Appellate Court set aside and that of the trial court is restored. [Paras 24-26, 28-30]

2. Case referred
3. Act
  • Specific Relief Act (47 of 1963)
4. Keyword
  • Agreement for sale
  • Specific Relief
  • Specific performance
  • Time
  • essence of contract