Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, May 26, 2022:While observing that  a suit for specific performance does not come to an end on the passing of a decree and the court which has passed the decree for specific performance retains control over the decree even after the decree has been passed, the Supreme Court has recently held that time for payment of sale consideration may be extended even in a consent decree.

The Division Bench of  Justice S.Abdul  Nazeer and Justice Vikram Nath asserted, “Section 28 not only permits the judgment-debtors to seek rescission of the contract but also permits extension of time by the court to pay the amount. The power under this section is discretionary and the court has to pass an order as the justice of the case may require.”

The factual background of this case was such that in 2007, the appellant herein filed a suit for specific performance of an agreement  executed by the first respondent in his favour for the sale of agricultural land. During the pendency of the suit, the Trial Court decreed the suit in terms of the compromise. As per the compromise decree, the respondent agreed to sell the suit land for a total consideration of Rs. 8,78,500 to the appellant. When the balance amount was not paid, the appellant moved an application which was allowed by the Trial Court, and accordingly, the said amount was deposited by the appellant in the court on the same day. 

In 2011, the first respondent executed the sale deed in respect of the suit property in favour of the appellant but the appellant filed an application for extension of time for payment of balance of the sale consideration which was allowed by the Trial Court. After three years, the first respondent filed an application for cancellation of the aforesaid sale deed. The Trial Court dismissed the said application. Being aggrieved, the first respondent filed a writ petition before the High Court whereby the sale deed was cancelled and the orders passed by the Trial Court granting extension of time for depositing the balance of the sale consideration was set aside.

Referring to Section 28 of the Special Relief Act, 1963, the Division Bench held that this section seeks to provide complete relief to both the parties in terms of a decree of specific performance in the said suit without having resort to a separate proceeding. As per the Bench, the Trial Court in its discretion had granted extension of time for depositing the balance of sale consideration assigning cogent reasons.

Thus, the High Court was not justified in setting aside the said order and cancelling the sale deed, noted the Bench. Resultantly,  the Top Court allowed the appeal and restored the order of the Trial Court permitting the appellant to deposit the balance amount of Rs.1,47,500­.

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