The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill 2017


  • The Lok Sabha has passed the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill 2017, proposing to bring significant amendments to Specific Relief Act 1963.

Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017:

  • The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Law and Justice, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 22, 2017.
  • The Bill seeks to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

Key features of the Bill:

  • Special courts:Under the Bill, certain civil courts may be designated as Special Courts by the state government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of a High Court.
  • Specific performance: Under the Act, specific performance is a limited right, which may be given by the court at its discretion, in the following circumstances: 1- when monetary compensation is inadequate;
  • When monetary compensation cannot be easily ascertained.
  • The Bill seeks to remove these conditions and permit specific performance by courts as a general rule.

Substituted performance:

  • The Bill gives an affected party the option to arrange for performance of the contract by a third party or by his own agency (substituted performance).
  • The affected party has to give a written notice of at least 30 days before obtaining such substituted performance.
  • The costs in connection with such performance may be recovered from the other party.
  • After obtaining substituted performance, specific performance cannot be claimed.


  • Under the Act, courts can grant preventive relief (injunctions) to parties.
  • The Act provides circumstances in which injunctions cannot be given, for example, to stop a party from filing a complaint in a criminal matter.

Recovery of possession:

  • The Act permits the following persons to file a suit for recovery of possession of immovable property:
  • A person put out of possession (dispossessed person);
  • Any person claiming through such dispossessed person
  • The Bill additionally permits a person through whom the dispossessed got possession of the immovable property, to file a suit for recovery.


  • The Bill inserts a new provision for engaging technical experts in suits where expert opinion may be needed.
  • The court will determine the terms of payment of such expert.
  • The payment will be borne by both the parties.

Reasons of introducing this Bill:

  • The 1973 Act is not in tune with the rapid economic growth of the country.
  • The new Bill does away “with the wider discretion of courts to grant specific performance and to make specific performance of contract a general rule than exception subjects to certain limited grounds.
  • The new bill will reduce uncertainit in projects for infrastructure or those involving huge public investments.
  • The review of the Act will also ensure ease of doing business.
  • The decision has been taken in view of tremendous developments that have taken place after 1963 and also in the context of present scenario involving contract based infrastructure development, public-private partnerships and other public projects involving huge investments and enforceability of the contracts.
  • The Bill proposes to enable courts to engage experts on specific issues and to ensure their attendance.
  • It makes the grant of specific performance of contracts compulsory, by taking away the discretionary power of courts.
  • World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business global report places India at the 164th position on the enforcing contracts indicator. The time taken to enforce a contract in India is close to four years (1,445 days), according to the World Bank report.

Specific Relief Act, 1963

  • It is law sets out remedies available to parties whose contractual or civil rights have been violated.
  • It also provides a remedy that aims at the exact fulfilment of an obligation or specific performance of the contract rather than a general relief or compensation or damages.
  • It sets out two main remedies to party whose contract has not been performed.
  • Party may ask court to compel performance of contract (specific performance
  • Party may seek monetary compensation instead of performance.
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