Reflection Of Equity In Grant Of Injunction
This Blog is written by Surbhi Pareek from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Edited by Ravikiran Shukre.
“Not only should equity be preserved, but it should be preserved separate and self-conscious.”
Equity may be generally understood as the state of being fair and just. Though in the legal sphere, jurists and scholars have come forward with varied definitions of equity, its origin and evolution are profoundly entwined with the history of the common law. It is often described as ‘a separate arm of law which evolved alongside common law and is concerned with fairness and justice. It was formerly administered in special courts’ which were “courts of equity” or “courts of chancery” in England but later the separation between law and equity almost managed to vanish away in most of the countries and the courts administered justice on the basis of law or equity as per the demand of the situation.
Equity is considered to be a better form of justice since it is focused upon specific judgments and remedies, unlike law which focuses mainly upon monetary compensation or punitive remedies. One such remedy is an injunction. An injunction is an order granted by the court through which an individual is obligated to perform, or is restrained from performing, a specific action. If such an order isn’t followed, they may be held guilty of contempt of the court. An injunction is an equitable remedy that is generally granted by the court judiciously, in utmost cases of necessity. Otherwise, where there might be an irreparable injury to the rights of the individual because justice cannot be done by mere compensation for the injury in terms of damages. The reflection of equity in grant of injunction is an appropriate way to strengthen its effect as an equitable remedy.
SIGNIFICANCE OF EQUITY IN INJUNCTION:
Prevention of actions that may further lead to damages and expenses is the main objective of the remedy of injunction. Prevention is said to be better than cure. This adage suits the best when injunction as a remedy of equitable jurisdiction is the concern. This is true because in most of the cases, there exist injunction as a helpful remedy to prohibit any specific action from happening or for instance, prevent a person from going to a particular place. The court may exercise the rational judicial discretion and grant or refuse to grant interim relief. Many a time, there might be usual delay on the part of the court to deliver a judgment which might further result in the domino effect of damages or violation of rights to the party concerned. ‘Delay defeats equity’. The court, in such cases, must take resort to injunctive relief to prevent the victims from suffering more losses. And thus, injunction fulfils the purpose of equity.
The primary purpose of granting interim relief is the preservation of property in dispute till legal rights and conflicting claims of the parties before the court are adjudicated. It is also beneficial in the cases where there might be ongoing inhuman conduct which if not prevented, may lead to inconveniences to the victim or even threats to the life. In the absence of any legal remedy available to the victims, injunction as an equitable remedy is the last hope for them. ‘Equity will not suffer a wrong to be without remedy.’ This refers to the fact that equity will always strive hard for providing a remedy to the victim, even if the common law might fail to. The victim still finds the ground to get relief for the unnecessary losses which might be possibly caused to them by the defendant. In today’s ever-changing and ever-evolving society, judges need to take a resort to interim reliefs such as injunction, in order to buy time for conscious deliberations and discussions upon new matters of legal concern, for a robust legal system.
Injunctions are a ray of hope to someone who has faced violation of their rights. Courts are also concerned with the interests of non-parties such as the public while deciding upon order of injunction. Courts give special attention to equitable qualities of fairness and good faith when deciding whether to issue an injunction order and what its scope should be. Injunctive reliefs are given in a variety of cases. These interim orders can prevent violations of the law in the future, such as trespass on property, infringement of a patent, or the violation of a constitutional right (e.g., the right to light and air). They can even put an obligation upon the defendant to mend past violations of the law. An injunction can require someone to do something, like clean up a wasteland or remove an illegal wall. It even holds the authority to prohibit someone from committing a specific act, like stop seeing his children after their divorce due to instances of violence in the past. Some injunctions have mandatory and prohibitory aspects, as they mandatorily require some conduct and prevent other conduct.
“When a court employs the extraordinary remedy of injunction, it directs the conduct of a party, and does so with the backing of its full coercive powers.” An injunctive order can be modified or dissolved by the Court in case the circumstances change in the future. A party that fails to comply with an injunction is guilty of contempt of the court. including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. The punishment for this disobedience depends upon the actual default by the party against whom the injunction was granted and may include civil or criminal penalties including possible monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. Injunctions have serious consequences.
PROVISIONS IN THE LEGISLATURE:
India has inherited the law of injunction from England along with the various other laws and their administration. The discretion of the courts, while granting an injunction order, is governed by equitable rules and principles since the injunction itself emanates from the law of equity. The equitable jurisdiction in India has been converted to statute laws.
In matters involving Criminal Law, the grant of injunction is contained in sections 133, 142, and 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In Civil matters, Chapter VII of Part III of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 deals with the grant of an injunction under Sections 36 to 42. The court has the discretion in granting the order of injunction which is mainly a preventive relief. The court may grant the following types of Injunctions:
• Temporary and Permanent Injunctions (Sections 36 & 37)
• Perpetual Injunctions (Section 38)
• Mandatory Injunctions (section 39)
A temporary injunction is for a specific time interval or until the further order by the court. It may be ordered at any stage in the proceedings and is managed by the Code of Civil Procedure (1908). There can be a permanent injunction that is granted as a final relief in the suit and there can be a temporary injunction that may be passed at any situation of the suit or proceedings. A perpetual injunction can only be granted by the decree after the hearing based upon the merits of the case. A mandatory injunction is ordered when a court wants a person to perform certain acts so undo the wrong or injury that one has caused in the first place.
Either of the parties to a dispute may plead the court for grant of an order of injunction. The party may be punished for Contempt of Court in case the injunction order is not followed or violated upon. The punishment for such violation of the court’s order may be penal charges or imprisonment or both but it actually depends upon the act of default and is given after proper trials and hearings.
MAXIMS AND CASE LAWS:
An injunctive relief cannot be claimed as a matter of right by an individual. It is completely discretionary upon the court’s authority to grant such equitable relief. It is the obligation of the Court to exercise this discretionary duty in a judicious manner and to ensure that no grave injustice or loss is caused to either of the parties. Such a writ of the injunction must be accepted where there is an absolute necessity. Public peace and order need to be maintained and thus a court may issue equitable relief in the name of injunction to preserve harmony at all times. The court should be work with caution in cases of the probability of disruption of public peace and order. If the injunction is a relief to one party, it is harm to the rights of the other party against whom it is sought, thus the courts should always comply with all the legal criteria so as to effectively grant justice within the legal sphere.
Thus the courts have to comply with certain elements which are as follows:
• Whether the plaintiff has prima facie case in his favor.
• Whether the balance of convenience lies in the favour of the plaintiff.
• Whether an irreparable injury will be caused if injunction sought for isn’t granted.
• Whether refusal of the injunction would result in greater injustice than the grant of it would involve.
There have been a lot of precedents relating to the grant of injunction and a couple of maxims that prove the remedy to be equitable. These maxims and judgments are studied by the jurists and scholars to understand further about the law of injunction. These have to be followed by the courts of law as well in order to abide by the necessary conditions for a satisfactory grant of injunction. Some of the important ones are given below:
• One who seeks equitable relief, must come with clean hands or ‘one who seeks equity must do equity’.
• “Ubi jus ibi remedium” has to be complied with which mean whenever there is a right, there is a remedy.
• Injunction is an equitable remedy- As was held in the case of Lalbhai Dalpatbhai & Co. v. Chittaranjan Chandulal Pandya.
• There need to be violation of a legal right or breach of an obligation.
• A perpetual injunction may be granted to the plaintiff to prevent the breach of an obligation in his favor.
• Injunctive relief may be sought in cases where the possession is the legal possession- As was decided in the case of Mahadeba Debata v. Deenabandhu Debata and Ors.
• Damage is the suitable remedy if there is no irreparable loss to the parties seeking injunctive relief- As was decided in the case of State of U.P. v. Hakim Singh.
• No injunction should be granted where there is an effective relief present- As was decided in Satish Bahadur v. Hans Raj.
• Injunction may also be issued on the grounds of juridical injunction – In the case of Patil Exhibitors Ltd. v. The Corporation.
• While granting an injunction, the question of title may be incidentally gone into- In Kishanlal Biharilal Maheshwari v. Ramrao Hanumant Rao Patil.
• Injunction cannot be issued upon in cases involving illegal agreement- As decided in Bhikaji Sabaji & Ors. v. Bapu Saju.
• The power to grant relief of injunction is at the discretion of the court which should be exercised reasonably, judiciously, and on sound legal principles.
• Injunction should not be lightly granted as it adversely affects the other side.
As mentioned with the evidence above, the issuance of a writ of injunction is in the nature of equitable relief, and the court has uncontrollable power to impose such decrees as it may deem fit. The court must act judiciously and such decree must be reasonable enough so as not to make it difficult for the party to abide by the same and thereby imploring upon the relief which the party would be originally entitled to otherwise.
Injunction is said to be an equitable remedy since it aims at delivering justice which the other legal remedies may never grant. It is considered to be adaptable and accommodating to the state of affairs more than any other process or solution under law. With the main intention to prohibit wrongs and safeguard rights, the writ of injunction is based on the justice, fairness, and good conscience of the judge. Whenever there is a demand by justice and public interest, injunction acts to be a convenient remedy since it may easily substitute damages so as to prevent any irreparable injury to the parties to a suit. It may also be easily administered upon the changing exigencies of the current spheres and may be adjusted with any new situations. The equitable power of an injunction may be exercised to prevent or heal the injury with the help of various forms of injunctions given in the law such as preventive or mandatory injunctions.
Injunction is that wholesome and diverse remedy that is capable of delivering justice completely to the parties seeking prevention of their rights and safeguards. Although the injunction is not a right of any individual and the court has its discretion, but if the situation seems grave and so demands peace and public order, there ought not be any lack on the part of the court in granting injunctive relief and the discretion while deciding what equitable relief may be given should be in affirmation to uphold equity, justice and fairness.
Equity follows the law and where equities are equal, the law prevails. Equity helps the vigilant rather than those who obstruct their rights. Thus, if a court follows the equitable rules and principles while issuing any injunctive relief, then there is a clear reflection of equity in the grant of injunction.
The law of equity supplements the deficiencies in the common law and adds to the law the lost essence of morality for the betterment of society. Injunction is that equitable relief that strengthens the law of equity. The Court while granting an order of injunction or any other equitable relief, it must never be forgotten that they originate from equitable jurisdiction and therefore before passing the order, the request seeking such relief must be tested on all principles and rules of equity. The Court should be a bit more concerned in its approach while testing the prima facie matter to avoid the abuse of the process of the Court along with fulfilling the basic requirements that the claimant should have a good prima facie case, the possibility of irreparable injury, and balance of convenience to be in their favor and other such principles connected with the matter. Lastly, the court must act judiciously and in good conscience which taking up such a request for grant of an equitable remedy, because this concerns the rights of an individual.
1. Douglas Laycock, The Triumph of Equity, 56 Law and Contemporary Problems 53-82 (Summer 1993). https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4194&context=lcp
2. VK Jain, Principles of Equity and their Application to Indian Law. (Accessible on SCC Online).
3. Justice Raghava Rao, The Courts and the Law, Talk Broadcast from All India Radio, Madras. (Accessible on SCC)
4. The-Law-Relating-To-Injunctions. http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1177/The-Law-Relating-To-Injunctions.html
5. Justice R. R. K. Trivedi, Law of Injunctions by http://ijtr.nic.in/articles/art25.pdf
6. PP Joshi, Law Of Injunction- Temporary Injunction including Ex-parte Injunction, Perpetual Injunction and Mandatory Injunction. http://mja.gov.in/Site/Upload/GR/Title%20NO.62(As%20Per%20Workshop%20List%20title%20no62%20pdf).pdf
7. The-Law-Relating-To-Injunctions http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1177/The-Law-Relating-To-Injunctions.html
8. The importance and the types of injunctions. https://hrlrc.org/2018/04/12/the-importance-and-types-of-injunctions-equitable-remedy-in-the-law-of-equity/
9.Temporary Injunction Under the Code Of Civil Procedure: An Analysis By Mohd. Tauseef Raza And Rabab Khan, (Accessible on SCC Online).