Table Of Contents
- When is an injunction invoked?
- Types of Injunctions in the Law
- Requirements for Applicability
- Grounds of Rejection
- Disobedience of Injunction
- Case Laws Regarding Permanent Injunction
The literal meaning of injunction is to stop someone from doing something. Legally however an injunction is a remedy granted by the court that prohibits the commission of a wrong threatened or the continuance of a wrongful course of action already begun.
Lord Halsbury described an injunction as a judicial process whereby a party in an order to refrain from doing or to do a particular act or thing”. It can also be described as a judicial order or a prohibitive writ issued by a court of law at the suit of a party complainant, directed to the defendant in the action, forbidding the latter to do some act which he is threatening or attempting to commit, or restraining him in the continuance thereof, such act being unjust and inequitable, injurious to the plaintiff, and not such as can be adequately redressed by an action fit law. Failure to comply with an injunction can result in civil/criminal penalties or invite contempt of court.
In India, Injunctions are widely under the purview of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, and are also regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
When is an injunction invoked
The core belief behind the issuance of an injunction is the existence of a possibility of irreparable injury. This implies that injunctions are facilitated only when the court believes that without them, the harm that will follow cannot be amended. In the case of M. Gurudas and Ors. [AIR 2006 SC 3275] the Supreme Court of India opined, that while considering an application for an injunction, the Court would assess said application on the basis of three grounds,- Prima facie validity of the case, the balance of convenience, and irreparable injury.
1. Prima Facie Case
Prima Facie, in a literal sense, translates to “on the face of it”. In Martin Burn Ltd. vs. R.N. Banerjee [1958 AIR 79 SCR 514] while discussing the meaning of the ‘prima facie’ case, the court said that its a case that can be established if the evidence led in support of the same was considered true. While determining whether a prima facie case had been made out the relevant consideration is whether the evidence led it was possible to arrive at the conclusion in question and not whether that was the only conclusion that could be arrived at on that evidence. Thus, a prima facie case is a necessity to obtain a temporary injunction.
2. Irreparable Injury
‘Irreparable injury’ means such an injury that damages cannot adequately remedy. Legally, it means- The remedy by damages would be inadequate if the compensation ultimately payable to the plaintiff in case of success in the suit would not place him in the position in which he was before the injunction was refused.
3. Balance of Convenience
‘Balance of convenience” implies that the comparative troubles or inconveniences which likely arise from the issuance of the injunction are lesser than the ones arising from withholding the injunction. The court weighs the amount of substantial mischief that is likely to be done to the applicant if the injunction is refused and compares it with that which is likely to be caused to the other side in case the court decides to grant the injunction.
Types of Injunctions in the Indian Law
Indian Law accommodates two types of injunctions, namely temporary and permanent :
As the name suggests, temporary injunctions are fleeting in nature. They are issued only for a certain period of time, which allows the court to further asses the matter and pass orders on the same. It can also be a precursor to permanent injunctions. They can be obtained at any stage of the trial, as mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908. Section 94, in furtherance of its purpose to not defeat justice, allows courts to grant temporary injunctions. It says that such an injunction may be granted in case of disobedience enough to commit the person guilty thereof to the civil prison and order that his property is attached and sold. Section 95 adds that if no sufficient grounds to grant the injunction were discovered, or the plaintiff is defeated in the suit, the court may award reasonable compensation to the defendant on his application claiming such compensation.
A permanent injunction, as the name suggests, is an indefinite stay on the activity in question. These can be granted only after passing a decree which constitutes studying the merits and demerits of the suit. Once such decree is passed by the court of law, the defendant is permanently prohibited from the assertion of the right or the commission of the act so mentioned in the suit.
Requirements of Applicability
The conditions needed for this section to be applicable are:
- There should exist expressed or implied legal right in favor of the plaintiff;
- Said right must have been violated or there should be a threatened invasion;
- Said right must be existing at the time in question
- Should fall within the sphere of restraining provisions
Rejection of an Application for Injunction
An injunction cannot be granted, or such an application may not be entertained if it meets the following grounds:
- Malafide intention to restrain a person from prosecuting a pending judicial proceeding
- To restrain a person from initiating legal proceedings, where the injunction is sought from a court subordinate to that court.
- To restrain the application of a person to legislative bodies.
- To restrain initiating criminal proceedings.
- To prevent the breach of a contract the performance of which would not be specifically enforced.
- When the conduct of the plaintiff or his agents has been such as to dis-entitle him to the assistance of the court.
- When the plaintiff’s personal interest in the matter cannot be established.
Disobedience of Injunction
Rule 2-A of Order 39 and Section 94(c) of the Civil Procedure Code propound the consequences of disobedience in case of infringement of an injunction. The section says that if found liable for such contravention, the person will be guilty to the civil prison and order that his property is attached and sold.
Rule 2-A of Order 39 provides that,
“(1) In case of disobedience of any injunction granted under Rule 1 and Rule 2 or breach of any of the terms on which injunction was granted, the court granting the injunction or making the order, or any court o which the suit or proceeding is transferred, may order the property of the person guilty of such disobedience or breach to be attached and may also order such person to be detained in the civil prison for a term not exceeding three months unless in the meantime the court directs his release.
(2) No attachment made under this rule shall remain in force for more than one year, at the end of which time if the disobedience continues, the property attached may be sold.”
Case Laws Regarding Permanent Injunction
Jujhar Singh vs. Giani Talok Singh[AIR 1987 P H 34]
Here, a permanent injunction was sought by a son to prevent his father who happened to be the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), i.e. the head from selling the HUF property. Here, the injunction so demanded was not granted because the son, as a co-partner got the remedy of challenging the sale and getting it set aside in a suit subsequent to the completion of the sale.
Cotton Corporation Of India vs. United Industrial Bank [1983 AIR 1272, 1983 SCR (3) 962]
Here, an injunction was sought in order to restrain the defendants from presenting a winding-up petition under the Companies Act, 1956, or under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. The court dismissed the petition as it was not competent to grant, as a relief, a temporary injunction restraining a person from instituting a proceeding in a court not subordinate to it.
Injunctions are an important tool in the dispensation of legal and judicial obligations. They protect the plaintiff from irreparable damages and serve the principle of natural justice. The courts of law analyze and assess these applications thoroughly, thus upholding the sanctity of the tool.