SC: Waiting for out of court solution as wise businessmen is a lame excuse

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the matter of Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Limited v. KS Infraspace LLP Limited And Another observed that the explanation that the plaintiff waited hopefully for a solution outside litigation as a prudent businessman before finally instituting the suit is too lame an excuse to merit any consideration.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The grant of relief in a suit for specific performance is itself a discretionary remedy. A plaintiff seeking temporary injunction in a suit for specific performance will therefore have to establish a strong prima­facie case on basis of undisputed facts. The conduct of the plaintiff will also be a very relevant consideration for purposes of injunction. The discretion at this stage has to be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily. (Para 15)

WhatsApp messages which are virtual verbal communications are matters of evidence with regard to their meaning and its contents to be proved during trial by evidence­-in-­chief and cross examination. (Para 17)

Prolonged negotiations between the parties reflect that matters are still at the ‘embryo stage’ (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 17)

The explanation that the plaintiff waited hopefully for a solution outside litigation as a prudent businessman before finally instituting the suit is too lame an excuse to merit any consideration. (Para 18)

In a matter concerning grant of injunction, apart from the existence of a prima facie case, balance of convenience, irreparable injury, the conduct of the party seeking the equitable relief of injunction is also very essential to be considered. (Para 19)

If the plaintiff contended a concluded contract and/or an oral contract by inference, leaving an executed document as a mere formality, the onus lay on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the parties were ad­ idem having discharged their obligations (Para 21)

The question of irreparable harm to a party complaining of a breach of contract does not arise if other remedies are available to the party complaining of the breach. (Para 21)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_06-Jan-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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