Specific relief act - Alternative relief versus main relief


In this article, the author delves into the issue of Alternative Relief versus Main Relief in a Suit For Specific Performance.

QUESTION OF LAW: If the plaintiff has asked for alternative relief, can he be refused the principal relief of specific performance in the main suit.


It was held in Motilal Jain v. Ramdasi Devi, 2000 (3) RCR(Civ) 545 that merely because plaintiff claims damages in a suit for specific performance of contract as alternative relief, it cannot be said that he is not entitled to main relief of specific performance. It was held in Ram Dass v. Ram Lubhaya, 1998 (2) RCR (Civil) 684 that an alternative prayer by a plaintiff in a suit cannot be construed as a waiver or abandonment of the main relief in the suit. An alternative prayer is a relief which is claimed by the party if the party is found to be not entitled to the main relief claimed in the suit. The jurisdiction vested in the Court to decline specific performance and grant alternative relief is a jurisdiction of equity and good conscience and must be exercised in consonance with the settled principles of law.

A lawful agreement being proved and judicial conscience of the Court is satisfied, the equity would demand enforcement of an agreement rather than granting an alternative relief of damages to the plaintiff. It need not be reiterated that equity must give relief where equity demands. The time taken by the Courts in deciding suits or appeals would normally be not permitted to work to the disadvantage of the party to the lis. Acts of the Courts shall cause prejudice to none was so stated by the Hon'ble Apex Court in Atma Ram Mittal v. Ishwar Singh Punia, 1988 (0) AIR(SC) 2031.


From the ratio of above judicial precedents, it would suffice to say that merely because the plaintiff has asked for alternative relief, he cannot be refused the principal relief of specific performance.

The author hails from a Consulting Background in the area of Business, Technology and Project Management. This Article is a humble effort to disseminate Legal Research with insights from the Consulting Background. The Author may be reached via anil [at] Satyagraha [dot] com


Anil Satyagraha 
on 23 January 2018
Published in Civil Law
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