An injunction is a legal remedy which is imposed by a court. In simple terms, an injunction means that one of the parties to a certain action must either do something or refrain from doing something. Once the court makes its decision, the parties must abide by the ruling. If the party fails to adhere to the injunction, there can be stiff monetary penalties and even imprisonment in certain instances.
In most jurisdictions, an injunction will not be granted unless the party seeking the injunction can prove that they will cause irreparable injury if the court does not grant the injunction. Irreparable injury means that the harm inflicted on one party is so bad that no monetary or other type of payment is a good enough reward for putting up with the circumstances. In addition, the party must show there is no other remedy available. Furthermore, the party must demonstrate that if the court balances the parties’ interests, the balance will tilt in favor of the party seeking the injunction.
Types of Injunctions in the Indian Law
Generally speaking, there are two types of injunctions under the act, as mentioned below:
- Temporary Injunction
- Perpetual/Permanent Injunction
Temporary injunctions, as the name suggests, are the injunctions that are given for a specific period of time or until the court gives further order regarding the matter in concern. They can be obtained during any stage of the trial and are regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908
- Section 94:The section provides for supplemental proceedings, to enable the court to prevent the ends of justice from being defeated. Section 94(c) states that a court may grant temporary injunction and in case of disobedience commit the person guilty thereof to the civil prison and order that his property be attached and sold. Section 94(e) of the Code enables the court to make interlocutory orders as may appear to it to be just and convenient.
- Section 95: If it is found by the court that there were no sufficient grounds to grant the injunction, or the plaintiff is defeated in the suit, the court may award reasonable compensation to the defendant on his application claiming such compensation.
- Order XXXIX:
- Rule 1: It enlists the situations when a court may grant temporary injunction. These are:
- Any property in dispute in a suit is in danger of being wasted, damaged or alienated by any party to the suit, or wrongfully sold in execution of a decree, or
- the defendant threatens, or intends, to remove or dispose of his property with a view to defrauding his creditors,
- the defendant threatens to dispossess the plaintiff or otherwise cause injury to the plaintiff in relation to any property in dispute in the suit.
- Rule 2: It provides that an interim injunction may be granted for restraining the defendant from committing a breach of contract or other injury of any kind to the plaintiff.
- Rule 3: It states that a court shall direct a notice of application to the opposite party, before granting the injunction to the plaintiff. However, if it seems to the court that the purpose of the injunction would be defeated by the delay, it may not provide the notice.
- Rule 4: It provides for vacation of already granted temporary injunction.
- Rule 5: It states that an injunction directed to a corporation is binding not only on the corporation itself, but also on all members and officers of the corporation whose personal action the injunction seeks to restrain.
In the M. Gurudas and Ors. case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has opined, “while considering an application for injunction, the Court would pass an order thereupon having regard to prima facie, balance of convenience and irreparable injury.”
A permanent injunction can be granted by the court by passing a decree made at the hearing and upon the merits of the suit. Once such decree is passed, the defendant is permanently prohibited from the assertion of a right, or from the commission of an act, which would be contrary to the rights of the plaintiff.
When can a permanent injunction be granted?
A permanent injunction may be granted:
- To the plaintiff in a suit to prevent a breach of an obligation existing in his favour, whether implicit or explicit. However, in a case where such an obligation arises out of a contract, the court follows the rules as specified by Chapter II of the Act. Chapter II, under Section 9 provides that a person may claim relief in respect to a contract, by pleading in his defense, any of the ground available to him under any law relating to contracts.
- In a case where the plaintiff invades or threatens to invade the the plaintiff’s right to, or enjoyment of, property, the court may grant a permanent injunction where:
- The defendant is trustee of the property for the plaintiff;
- there exists no standard for ascertaining the actual damage caused, or likely to be caused, by the invasion;
- the invasion is such that compensation in money would not afford adequate relief;
- the injunction is necessary to prevent a multiplicity of judicial proceedings.
If the court finds it necessary and within its capability, to compel the performance of an act, to prevent the breach of an obligation, it may do so granting a mandatory injunction to the plaintiff, compelling the defendant to perform the requisite acts.
Two elements have to be taken into consideration when a mandatory injunction is granted. The two elements are:
- The court has to determine what acts are necessary to prevent the breach; and
- The requisite acts must be as such as the court is capable of enforcing.
Grounds for Rejection of an Application for Injunction
On the following grounds, an injunction cannot be granted:
- To restraint a person from prosecuting a pending judicial proceeding, unless it is to prevent multiplicity of the proceeding.
- To restraint a person from instituting or prosecuting a judicial proceeding in a court, where the injunction is sought from a court subordinate to that court.
- To restrain any person from applying to any legislative body.
- To restrain any person from instituting or prosecuting any proceeding in a criminal matter.
- To prevent the breach of a contract the performance of which would not be specifically enforced (Illustration: a contract between a master and servant, requiring the servant to render personal services to the master cannot be specifically enforced by the master or the servant. Hence, an injunction cannot be granted in this situation)
- Where it is not reasonably clear that an act it nuisance, to prevent such an act on the ground of nuisance.
- To prevent a continuing breach in which the plaintiff has acquiesced, as the general rule is that an acquiescence is an implied consent by remaining silent.
- Where except in the case of breach of trust, equally efficacious relief can certainly be obtained by any other usual mode of proceeding.
- When the conduct of the plaintiff or his agents has been such as to dis-entitle him to the assistance of the court.
- When the plaintiff has no personal interest in the matter.
An injunction is an equitable remedy and as such attracts the application of the maxim that he who seeks equity must do equity. Granting of injunction is entirely in the discretion of the Court, though the discretion is to be sound and reasonably guided by Judicial Principles.
The power to grant a temporary injunction is at the discretion of the court. This discretion, however, should be exercised reasonably, judiciously and on sound legal principles. Injunction should not be lightly granted as it adversely affects the other side. The grant of injunction is in the nature of equitable relief, and the court has undoubtedly power to impose such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. Such conditions, however, must be reasonable so as not to make it impossible for the party to comply with the same and thereby virtually denying the relief which be would otherwise be ordinarily entitled to. The general rule is that grant of an injunction is a matter of discretion of the court and it cannot be claimed as of right. However, the discretion has to be exercised in a judicious manner and in accordance with the provisions relating to the grant of injunction contained in the specific Relief Act. It is well settled that no interim injunction would be issued if final relief cannot be granted. When plaintiff has no personal interest in the matter, injunction cannot be granted.