India: Can Specific Performance And Injunction Be Sought In The Same Suit?


Specific Performance is mostly sought in case of a breach of contract resulting in damages or losses for one of the parties to the contract. Instead of compensation in lieu of the losses accrued, the aggrieved party may approach the Court in order to enforce a specific part of the contract. As the objective is to restitute the aggrieved party, the aggrieved party may be better restituted if a certain part of the contract is enforced, rather than receiving mere monetary compensation. In India, the position in this regard is covered by the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

The dictionary meaning of injunction as defined in the Black Law's Dictionary1 is - "A court order commanding or preventing an action - to get an injunction, the complainant must show that there is no plain, adequate, and complete remedy at law and that an irreparable injury will result unless the relief is granted." Regarding the laws related to the issue, the statutory interpretations are provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and also the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

This conundrum thereby revolving around the issue that whether specific performance and injunction be sought in the same suit is explained herein-under.


There is no explicit legislative mandate which relates to the above-mentioned issue. To find a solution, the effective mechanism is to delve in case laws and come to a conclusion. By placing reliance on various judgments, it can be concluded that the most relevant legislative provision is that of Order II, Rule II of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter " Code").

To briefly iterate, Order II, Rule II says that if there exist multiple remedies arising out of the same cause of action, the Petitioner will have to claim all the remedies in the first instance. The person is barred from claiming a new remedy or filing a new suit in order to claim a remedy (not claimed in the first instance) at later instances or in any other Court. However, the person can choose not to claim a particular remedy, if the person so desires.

Thus, from a careful reading of Order II, Rule II and the decision of the Division Bench of the Apex Court, 2 it becomes clear that above raised question can only be answered after placing reliance on the cause of action of the suits.

To determine the scope of Order II, Rule II and when a suit can be barred by the said provision, the judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Gurbux Singh v. Bhooralal3 needs to be looked at. Ayyangar J. held that, "In order that a plea of a bar under Order 2 Rule 2(3) of the Civil Procedure Code should succeed the defendant who raises the plea must make out (1) that the second suit was in respect of the same cause of action as that on which the previous suit was based;(2) that in respect of that cause of action the plaintiff was entitled to more than one relief; (3)that being thus entitled to more than one relief the plaintiff, without leave obtained from the Court omitted to sue for the relief for which the second suit had been filed. From this analysis it would be seen that the defendant would have to establish primarily and to start with, the precise cause of action upon which the previous suit was filed, for unless there is identity between the cause of action on which the earlier suit was filed and that on which the claim in the later suit is based there would be no scope for the application of the bar/."4

Therefore, we can come to conclusion that the bar under Order II, Rule II will only come into effect when the cause of action of the both the suits is the same. Recently, the Supreme Court, in the case of Sucha Singh Sodhi v. Baldev Raj Walia,5 dealt with the given issue and allowed the Petitioner to file for specific performance after he had filed for a suit for permanent injunction (which he later withdrew with the permission of the Court). In this case, the Petitioner had first approached the trial Court only for an injunction against the Respondent. Subsequently, he decided to withdraw the suit by submitting the reason that he wanted to approach the appropriate forum. The Trial Court allowed the withdrawal. He then filed a suit for specific performance in the Court of Additional District Judge. To this, the Respondent objected and raised the claim that the suit was barred under Order II, Rule II. The Trial Court accepted the objection and dismissed the suit. The High Court also dismissed the appeal of the Petitioner and upheld the decision of the Trial Court. Hence, the appeal to the Supreme Court was made.

The Supreme Court went on to determine whether the Petitioner could have filed for specific performance along with the suit for injunction.

By looking into the facts of the case, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the cause of action resulting in the suit for injunction and the cause of action resulting in the suit for specific performance were different. Thus, the Plaintiff could not have claimed injunction and specific performance in the same suit. To substantiate, the Court held:

  1. "The cause of action to claim a relief of permanent injunction and the cause of action to claim a relief of specific performance of agreement are independent and one cannot include the other and vice versa." 6
  2. Cause of action to claim injunction is governed by Order 39, Rule 1(c) of the Code. The limitation period of three years starts from the date of obstruction. In case of specific performance, the limitation period of three years starts from the date fixed for performance.

Based on such considerations, the Court opined that as both the reliefs are not identical, and have separate cause of action due to different factual matrices leading up to these suits and governed by different sections of the Limitation Act, 1963, it was not possible to claim both the reliefs together in one cause of action. Thus, they allowed the Petitioner to file a fresh suit claiming specific performance.


As has been mentioned earlier, the primary focus to determine the applicability of Order II, Rule II of the Code is solely based on the cause of action' of the suit. If the cause of action is different, Order II, Rule II will not be applicable, and a fresh suit can be filed, even if the pleadings are similar. 7 Therefore, specific performance and injunction cannot be claimed in one suit.

However, if a cause of action is such, that it can give rise to both - injunction and specific performance, the author is of the opinion that in such circumstances, there should not be any prohibition on filing injunction and specific performance in the same suit in accordance with Order II, Rule II of the Code.


1 Black Law's Dictionary, 8th ed., Pg 2296.

2 Rathnavathi & Anr vs Kavita Ganashamdas, 2014 (6) CTC 333.

3 AIR 1964 SC 1810

4 Ibid.

5 2018 (5) SCALE 615.

6 Ibid.

7 Saraswathi vs P.S. Swarnalatha, MANU/TN/0640/2015.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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