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KEY TAKEAWAY

  • An injunction is a legal process in which someone who has infringed or threatened to infringe on another's rights is barred from continuing or initiating the wrongful act.
  • An injunction is an order against a person, in which restraint or direction is given for doing or not doing something, whereas a stay order is specifically a direction to the court for restraining itself from proceeding further.

INTRODUCTION

An injunction is a type of legal remedy which in simple terms means that one of the parties to a certain action must either do or stop from doing a particular act. Injunction order once passed, the parties must follow the court's decision and if the party violates the injunction, severe monetary penalties and, in some cases, imprisonment may be imposed. In order words, an injunction is known to be a restraining writ issued by a court of equity at the request of a party to the other for a purpose, forbidding the latter to do some act or to permit his servants or agents to do some act, which he is threatening or attempting to commit, or restraining him in the continuation thereof, wherein such act being unjust and inequitable. Lord Halsbury defines injunction, as a judicial process wherein a person is ordered to desist from doing or to do a particular act or thing.This article discusses the concept of an injunction and the various types of injunction orders available, using a few examples.

INJUNCTION

In general, an injunction is a court order that prohibits or requires a person to undertake specific conduct. It forbids a person from either committing an act of putting an end to what he or she is already doing. To understand better, let's take an example, if a person is demolishing a building on which you may have rights, you can seek the competent court to order that person not to demolish the building until the claim for the building is resolved and a judgment is rendered in his favor.The Specific Relief Act, 1963 establishes the law of injunction, which is also governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in India.

The important thing to remember is that an injunction functions in personam, meaning it does not accompanythe property. For example, plaintiff 'A' obtains an injunction prohibiting defendant 'B' from erecting a wall and the property is sold by 'B' to 'C'. In this case, the transaction is accompanied by an injunction. Hence, individuals, public bodies, and even the state may be subject to injunction order. In general, an injunction is granted for the following reasons:

1. To ensure that the person requesting an injunction's legal rights are not jeopardized by the other party's superfluous conduct if any.

2. To prevent any injury to an individual from occurring.

3. To prevent a property from being misappropriated, misused, or destroyed.

The question that arises here is whether an injunction and a stay order are the same thing. It is vital to understand the difference between an injunction and a stay. The main distinction is that a stay relates to the court procedures being halted or suspended, whereas an injunction is an order prohibiting or requiring the execution of an act. The other differences are as follows;

a) Proceedings taken in violation of a stay order are null and void, whereas those done in violation of an injunction are not null and void but susceptible to punishment.

b) The injection takes effect immediately, but a stay order does not take effect until it is conveyed to the court to whom it was issued.

c) An order of stay is directed at the court, but an injunction is directed at a specific person.

Further, in the case of Mulraj v. Murti Raghonathji Maharaj (1967), it was observed that an injunction can be used against a person, whereas a stay can be used against a court. An injunction takes effect immediately, but a stay order does not take effect until it is conveyed to the court to which it was issued.

As stated above, an injunction is given to prevent someone from acting against the law or over their legal authority. An injunction is generally against private individuals, to restrain the commission of torts, violation of contract, or statutory duty, and hence is considered as a very effective remedy to prevent a statutory authority from acting beyond vires.

KINDS OF INJUNCTION

An injunction, as stated above in simple words, indicates that one of the parties to a certain action must either do or stop from doing something and must follow the court's order after it has been made. There are different kinds of injunctions which have been explained in a detailed manner below:

Prohibitory Injunction:A prohibitory injunction restricts the defendant from engaging in conduct that would infringe on the plaintiff's rights. Interlocutory injunctions, temporary injunctions, and perpetual injunctions are all examples of prohibitory injunctions.

Temporary injunction:Temporary injunctions are those that last for a set period or until the court issues another order. It is provided as a temporary measure to maintain the status quo until the case is heard and decided. A temporary injunction can be obtained at any point during a lawsuit. Under Section 37 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 it has been defined, and through the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, temporary injunctions are being governed. Furthermore, this kind of injunction does not determine or conclude a right and is only an order where the court has complete discretion over whether or not to grant a temporary injunction.

In the case of Morgan Stanley Mutual Fund Vs. Kartick Das (1994), the Hon'ble Supreme Court, among other things, observed the following guidelines for granting a temporary injunction:

a) Ex-parte orders might be issued where the applicant will suffer irreparable or extremely serious harm.

b) The court will look into when the plaintiff received notice of the alleged act;

c) Ex-parte temporary injunctions will not be granted if the plaintiff has agreed to the respondent's conduct.

d) The applicant must be operating in good faith, and the order must be for a short duration.

Interlocutory injunction:An interlocutory injunction is a form of an interim injunction that is in effect while the matter is pending in court. Thus, an interlocutory injunction can compel or prevent a party from performing particular things while the case is being decided. In simple words, the basic goal of invoking an interlocutory injunction is to keep things as they are. Therefore, while deciding whether to issue or deny an interim injunction, the courts examine the following factors:

a) A prima facie case has been established by the petitioner.

b) The petitioner wins on the balance of convenience;

c) The petitioner would incur an irreparable loss.

Perpetual injunction:A permanent injunction can be obtained by the court as per Section 37 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, which states by making a decree at the hearing and on the merits of the case. Once such a decree is granted, the defendant is completely barred from asserting a claim or committing an act that would violate the plaintiff's rights.

To better understand this type of injunction, considering the case of Jujhar Singh vs. Giani Talok Singh (1987), in which a son sought a permanent injunction to prevent his father, who was the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), from selling the HUF property. It couldn't be maintained since the son, who was also a coparcener, had the option of contesting the transaction and having it set aside in court once the sale was completed. But, looking from the other side had to grant the injunction been requested, it would allow the son to utilize the injunction to prohibit the father from selling the property, even if he is forced to do so owing to legal requirements.

Mandatory injunction:This kind of injunction prohibits a defendant from continuing wrongdoing that happened before the injunction was obtained. The objective of a mandatory injunction is to restore the order to an unjust situation and has been defined under Section 39 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. A mandatory injunction, for example, requires the defendant to return the property to its lawful owner. It is to be noted here that the courts would assess whether the plaintiff could be suitably compensated or if the award of an injunction was essential to accomplish justice when ordering a mandatory injunction.

This injunction comes into play when it is necessary to compel the execution of specific acts that the court is capable of enforcing to prevent the breach of an obligation or to even compel to do a particular act. Therefore, in other words,a mandatory injunction can be seen as a mandate to perform certain conduct to return things to their previous state or undo what has already been done.For example, according to a lease agreement, one is only allowed to make alterations, additions, or changes to the residence with the authorization of the landlord. But, when the landlord was out of town, X a tenant, had constructed a garden terrace by adding specific alterations to the rented house without the landlord's permission. The landlord in the given situation may seek an injunction to compel X to demolish the garden terrace he had constructed.

Having understood the kinds of injunction, another interesting case to cite here to gain a better understanding of the concept of injunction is the case of Cotton Corporation of India vs. United Industrial Bank (1983), where an injunction was sought to prevent the defendants from filing a winding-up petition under the Companies Act, 1956 or the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, was dismissed by the court because it was not competent to grant a temporary injunction restraining a person from proceedings. The court, in this case, had further observed that if a perpetual injunction for the subject matter of the case cannot be issued under Section 41(b) of the Specific Relief Act 1963, the court held that an ipso facto interim injunction could not be given as well.

DISOBEDIENCE OF INJUNCTION

The repercussions of disobedience of an injunction are outlined in Rule 2-A of Order 39 and Section 94(c) of the Civil Procedure Code. According to Section 94(c) of the code it states, To avoid the objective of justice from being thwarted, the Court may give a temporary injunction and, in the event of disobedience, sentence the person guilty thereof to the civil prison and order that his or her property is attached and auctioned. Further, rule 2-A of Order 39 states two important aspects - Firstly, in the event of disobedience or breach of any of the terms on which an injunction was granted under Rule 1 and Rule 2, the court granting the injunction or making the order, or any court to which the suit or proceeding is transferred, may order the property of the person guilty of such disobedience or breach to be attached, as well as detention in the civil prison for a period not exceeding three months, unless the court orders release. Secondly, it is seen that no attachment granted under this provision could last more than one year, after which time the property attached may be sold if the disobedience continues.

CONCLUSION

In light of the above discussion, it can be concluded that an injunction cannot be sought as a matter of right by a party or rejected arbitrarily by the Court. Further to say, the Court's discretion is governed by the principles as stated above and is dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. The person requesting relief must show not only that he has a prima facie case, but also that denying relief would result in irreversible damage, and that the balance of convenience is in his favor. Besides that, it's important to understand that an injunction can only be issued against a party to the lawsuit and not against a third party. Secondly, there is no precedential value for an interim injunction, and lastly, the Court has an inherent power under section 151 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 to grant injunctions in circumstances that aren't covered by the act as well.


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