Sunday 7 January 2024

How specific relief amendment Act 2018 has eliminated inadequacy test?

The Specific Relief Act, 1963, required the aggrieved party to satisfy the inadequacy test before granting specific relief. The test was applied to suits for specific performance of contracts and to injunctions for enforcing obligations arising from contracts. The inadequacy test made specific performance an exceptional remedy, as it was granted only when compensation under common law was either not ascertainable or inadequate, and when it was possible for the court to make its decree enforceable.

 The inadequacy test in the Specific Relief Act refers to the requirement that the aggrieved party must satisfy the court that compensation under common law was inadequate or unascertainable before specific relief could be granted. The test presupposes that any breach of contract is adequately compensable in terms of money and that insisting upon specific performance of a contract would impinge the liberty of the promisor. The Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018 has eliminated the inadequacy test by substituting Section 10, Section 14, and Section 20 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. The amendment changed the approach from damages being the rule to specific performance being the rule, and damages being the alternate remedy.

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