SC:Extension of time solely doesn’t prove plaintiff’s readiness & willingness

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 4th October 2019, in the matter of Ravi Setia v. Madan Lal and Others pronounced that grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff. The plaintiff is required to plead sufficient, substantial and cogent grounds to seek extension of time for deposit because otherwise it becomes a question of his conduct along with all other attendant surrounding circumstances in the facts of the case. 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Attendance certificate from the office of the Sub-Registrar solely cannot be construed as a conclusive evidence of readiness and willingness to execute the sale deed. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 5)

There can be no straight jacket formula with regard to readiness and willingness. It will have to be construed in the facts and circumstances of each case in the light of all attending facts and circumstances. (Para 9)

The grant of relief for specific performance under Section 16 (1)(c) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 is a discretionary and equitable relief. Under Section 16 (1)(c), the plaintiff has to demonstrate readiness and willingness throughout to perform his obligations under the contract. (Para 10)

Mere extension of time for deposit does not absolve the plaintiff of his obligation to demonstrate readiness and willingness coupled with special circumstances beyond his control to seek such extension. (Para 10)

Readiness has been interpreted as capacity for discharge of obligations with regard to payment. (Para 10)

The grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff. The plaintiff is required to plead sufficient, substantial and cogent grounds to seek extension of time for deposit because otherwise it becomes a question of his conduct along with all other attendant surrounding circumstances in the facts of the case. (Para 10)

According to normal human prudence, land price escalates over time. Unless it be a situation of a distress sale, no land owner will sell his land for a lesser price than what may have been recorded in an agreement for sale. (Para 14)

In a second appeal, the High Court ought not to enter into reappreciation of evidence to arrive at new findings, except on pure questions of law. But if the findings are perverse, based on complete misappreciation or erroneous consideration of evidence, and the failure to consider relevant evidence, it becomes a question of law. (Para 15)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_04th-Oct-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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