The Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a suit for specific performance observing that no willingness shown by the plaintiffs to pay the remaining amount or getting the Sale Deed ascribed on necessary stamp paper and giving notice to the defendants to execute the Sale Deed.

even if the case of later payments by the respondents to the appellants is accepted, the same being at great intervals and there being no willingness shown by them to pay the remaining amount or getting the Sale Deed ascribed on necessary stamp paper and giving notice to the appellants to execute the Sale Deed, it cannot be said that in the present case, judged on the anvil of the conduct of parties, especially the appellants, time would not remain the essence of the contract”, the Bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah observed.

Advocate V. Prabhakar appeared for the Appellants (Defendants in the original suit) and Advocate P. V. Yogeswaran appeared for the Respondent.

Appellants 1, 2, and 3 initially entered into a registered Agreement of Sale with the Respondents for the sale of a property at Rs.21,000. An advance payment of Rs.3,000 was received, and a six-month timeframe was specified for completing the transaction. However, within this period, Appellants 1, 2 & 3 executed a separate Sale Deed with Appellant 7 for the same property at a higher price of Rs.22,000. In response, the Respondents issued a Notice urging adherence to the original Agreement. Subsequently, legal action was initiated by the Respondents, leading to the dismissal of the suit by the Trial Court. The Respondents appealed, and the First Appellate Court ruled in their favour, a decision upheld by the High Court.

An appeal challenging the Final Judgment of the High Court was filed, contesting the dismissal of a Second Appeal initiated by the original defendants (Appellants).

The Court noted the issue regarding the sustainability of the impugned Judgment, focusing on whether the Agreement specified a fixed timeframe for full payment by the Respondents. The Agreement indicated six months, and the Respondents had paid only Rs.7,000 within this period, as per the Legal Notice. The Agreement detailed a total payment of Rs.21,000, with Rs.3,000 as earnest money and the remainder due within six months. The Court emphasized the obligation for the Respondents to pay the balance amount within six months.

The Court observed that the Respondents failed to fulfil their obligation within the stipulated timeframe, with only Rs.3,000 or at best Rs.7,000 paid. The acceptance of Rs.1,000 by Appellant no.1 after executing a Sale Deed with Appellant no.7, along with discrepancies in thumb impressions, indicated no extension of time. The Court argued that even if the late payment was accepted, the remedy for the appellants was recovery with damages, not a suit for specific relief.

Another crucial point was the lack of relief sought by Appellant no.7 for the cancellation of the Sale Deed in his favour. The Court noted that a suit for specific performance concerning the same property was not maintainable, and the Respondents' delay in issuing the Legal Notice further weakened their case.

Accordingly, the Court set aside the Impugned Judgment and the First Appellate Court's decision, restoring the Trial Court's judgment dismissing the suit.

Cause Title: Alagammal And Ors. v Ganesan And Anr. (2024 INSC 28)

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