Equity is derived from a Latin word that means ‘Justice’. The law relating to equity is largely based on precedent. Law and equity go side by side. Equity is consequential in the legal world because men and laws are fallible.
Definition of equity by various jurists–
Different jurists have their different opinion related to the meaning of equity.
1. Maitland: Equity now is that body of rules administered by English Courts of Justice which were if not for the operation of the judicature acts, would be administered only those courts which would be known as Courts of Equity.
2. Snell: Equity in its technical sense, may be defined as a portion of natural justice, which, though of such a nature as properly to admit of being judicially enforced, was, from circumstances hereafter to be noticed, omitted to be enforced by common law courts- an omission which was supplied by the Court of Chancery.
Origin and nature of Equity in India-
In India, equity has its origin from the relevant ancient Hindu period, when some of the well-known legal experts defined the old law and set out the new rules for a better edible solution in case of any conflict arising between rules of different laws.
Growth of law of equity-
A dual system of rights and interests, namely- legal and equitable, came to the fore due to the double system of the administration of justice in England before the Judicature Act, 1873- 1875.
Equity in the Indian context-
Most of the equitable principles and rules have in India been embodied in the statute law and have been made applicable to the extent of the provisions made therein.
Statutory recognition of the principles of equity is found in the-
The Indian Contract Act, 1872.
The Specific Relief Act, 1877.
The Indian Trusts Act, 1882.
The Transfer of Property Act, 1882.
The Indian Succession Act, 1925.
General Principles of Equity-
The subject matter of the equity can be grouped around some legal maxims which embody the general principles on which the court of chancery exercised its jurisdiction. Some of such important maxims are as follows:
1. Aequitaes est corectio legis generalities latae, quo parte deficit i.e., equity is a correction of the general law in the part where it is defective.
2. Aequitas sequitur legem i.e. , equity follows the law.
3. He who seeks equity must do equity.
4. Vigilantibus, non dormientibus jura subvenient i.e. , the law helps the vigilant and not the dormant.
5. Equity delights in equality.
6. Where equities are equal, the first in time shall prevail.
7. Legal estate prevails over the equitable estate.
There are some remedies available by the court of law mainly for the plaintiff just to compensate for the damages he has suffered from. Some of them are:
1. Injunctions: It is a type of remedy in which the court provides a certain law and order which the parties are pressured to do or abstain from doing a certain specific task.
Case- Mohd. Afzal Shah v. Ghulam Ahmad Shah and Ors.
2. Specific performance: In this type of remedy, the court passes a statement to the parties in order to fulfill certain tasks which are interlinked or already a part of a contract.
Case- Executive Committee of Vaish v. Lakshmi Narain and Ors.
3. Recession: This remedy alternatively takes back the parties to their normal position as they were in before entering the contract.
Case- Bedi and Bedi Ltd. Bangalore v. The Commissioner of Central.
4. Rectification: In this type of remedy court orders to rectify or make certain changes in the written document so that to reflect what is actually said on the first page.
Case- M/s Harinagar Sugar mills Ltd. V. Shyam Sunder Jhunjhunwala.
Some Important cases under the Principle of Equity-
Namdeo Lokman Lodhi v. Narmadabai and Others
M. Nagarajan v. V.M. Nagammal
Rattan Lal v. Vardesh Chander and Ors.
Ganeshi Lal v. Jyoti Pershad