Understanding the Basics of Specific Relief Act, 1963

Author:- Tanya Shrotriya


Specific Relief Act was enacted in 1877.The Act was originally drafted upon the lines of the Draft, New York Civil Code, 1862, and its main provisions embodied the doctrines evolved by the English Equity Courts. The Specific Relief Act, 1963 is the outcome of the acceptance by the Government on the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India. A bill to repeal the Act of 1877 was introduced in Lok Sabha and was passed by the both houses of Parliament and on 13th December, 1963 the President assented to the same.


The title of the act clearly informs that the Specific Relief Act, 1963 is legal statutes that give out reliefs or recovery of the damages of the injured party. This act was validated in 1963 keeping to the approach when a person has withdrawn himself from the performance of a particular promise or a contract with respect to another person, the other person is so resentful and is entitled to a relief under Specific Relief Act, 1963.  The Act is regarded as a part of Indian Contract Act, 1872.

Salient Definitions

Section 2 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 compacts with definitions:

  1. Section 2(a) talks about obligations which are the legal bonds enforceable by the law.
  2. Section 2(b) deals with settlement which is the delivery of movable or immovable property to their succeeding interests when it is agreed to be disposed of.
  3. Section 2(c) describes the word trust as an obligation annexed to the ownership of property and arcing out of a confidence.
  4. Section 2(d) speaks about trustee meaning the person holding trust in the property.
  5. The other definitions unexplained are same as referred to definitions of Indian Contract Act,1872.

 Relief as to property (Section 4 – 8)

Section 4 of the act explains that this Act permit special relief for the enforcement of individual rights and not press for penal laws. The enforcement under this Act only bases itself on the individual civil right and the substantive nature must be established for that fact. 

Section 5 describes the remedies accessible to a person when he is disposed from his property. If a person has been eliminated through the line of possession or wants to recover w lawfully his property, then that person can go through the recovery procedure provided by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and in which the person would prove that the title is owned to him.

Section 6  explains that if a person has been stripped or divested from the property against the nature of law, then that person can file a suit for recovery of possession. This section is not only a mere legal rule but also has a wide practical approach. In Geeta Rani Paul v.Dibyendu Kundu ,1991 AIR 395, 1990 SCR Supl. (3) 464, it was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that when the plaintiff files suit regarding the dispossession, it is enough if he proves that he is entitled over the title of that property. Once the title is proved other details like being divested from the property or other things are not required to be proved.

Section 7 explains that when a person wants to recover the possession of the movable property, they can follow the procedure expressed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. section 7 has further two sub-clauses which further details that a trustee may file suit against the beneficial interest he was entitled to and the other sub-clause explains that the ownership of the property can also be expressed with the presence of a special right given to the person suing; which would be enough as an essential to file a suit.

  Section 8 says that when a person is in the possession of  the article to which is he is not the owner, shall be compelled to deliver such article to the person who will have its immediate possession in following cases:

  • When the article is held by the defendant as the trustee of a person who has the immediate possession.
  • When compensation in money is not an adequate relief.
  • When it is difficult to ascertain actual damage caused to the person.
  • When the possession of the article has been wrongfully transferred from the person so entitled.

What is Preventive Relief and Injunctions?

Preventive relief is contemplated to be any relief which abstains a party from doing any act; a relief from the court which attribute that the party should not perform certain acts for which the relief shall be prescribed. Such reliefs can be imposed in the form of injunctions. 

Injunctions are a specific order under which a party must abstain from performing any act. Injunctions under the Specific Relief Act, 1963 may be divided into different types namely temporary, perpetual and mandatory. 

An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that demands a party must do or must not do certain acts. A party that does not follow an order of injunction and fails to comply with it has to

1.      Face both criminal and civil penalties and

2.      Damages or accept sanctions for that.


The Specific Relief Act, 1963 harmonize reliefs given to the parties to suit. They have separate reliefs and impose rules which focus on providing sufficient compensation to all. This legal statute focuses that no person shall live with the damages and losses and those who have caused such a situation must be in a position to restore all unlawful benefits received by them. This act focuses on laying out justice to all and no discrimination towards single party.