Section 3

3. Savings.- Except as otherwise provided herein, nothing in this Act shall be deemed

(a) to deprive any person of any right to relief, other than specific performance, which he may have under any contract; or

(b) to affect the operation of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 (16 of 1908), on documents” –

  • Clause (a) reinforces the principle that equity is to assist the law, as such the remedies for breach of contract as provided under section 73 of the Indian contract act 1872 will not be affected by the remedy of specific performance provided under the Specific Relief Act which shall be in additional remedy over and above the remedy of damages provided under the Contract Act.
  • However, a plaintiff may come for damages in substitution of or in addition to the relief of specific performance, but he is precluded from suing again for damages for the same breach if his suit for specific performance is dismissed.
  • This saving clause is only confine to suit for specific performance to contract but not to recession, termination, forfeiture etc.
  • Clause (b) – The Transfer of Property Act, 1882, requires that conveyances by way of sale, mortgage, exchange, lease and gift of immovable property shall be effected by a registered instrument, and unless such a document is executed, there is no valid transfer of that property. The Registration Act, 1908 also set out that the registration of certain documents is compulsory, and also provides that an unregistered document that is required by Section 17 of that Act, or any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 to be registered will not affect any immovable property comprised therein, or confer any power to adopt, or be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power.
  • The object of clause (b) of the Section 3 is to prevent any relief being given in a case of specific performance which will have the effect of nullifying the effect of Sections 17 and 49 of the Registration Act, 1908. However, under proviso to Section 49 of that Act such an unregistered document may still be received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance, or as evidence of part performance of contract, or to prove a collateral transaction that is not required to be effected by registered instrument. Thus, an unregistered sale deed can be admitted in evidence in a suit of specific performance as evidence of contract.

Section 4

4. Specific relief to be granted only for enforcing individual civil rights and not for enforcing penal laws.— “Specific relief can be granted only for the purpose of enforcing individual civil rights and not for the mere purpose of enforcing a penal law”.

  • Section 4 brings out the principle that specific relief will be a civil remedy, the plaintiff must show some individual right to it in every case.
  • The word “mere” signifies that the enforcement of a penal law must not be the sole object of the relief sought. Though specific relief can be granted even if it includes enforcement of penal law, if such a relief is merely incidental or ancillary