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Suit for specific performance

Specific performance means the actual carrying out of the contract as agreed. Under certain circumstances, an aggrieved party may file a suit for specific performance i.e., for a decree by the court directing the defendant to actually perform the promise that he has made. This cannot be demanded as matter of right by the party as specific performance order is provided at courts discretion.
The Court may allow specific performance in the following situations
  • If there is no standard for ascertaining the actual damage, i.e. wherein the compensation cannot be ascertained for non-performance
  • If there is no exact substitute or alternative to the subject matter of the contract
  • It is usually granted in contracts connected with land, buildings, rare articles and unique goods having some special value to the party
  • Granting suit for specific performance is at the sole discretion of the court and the party cannot demand it as a matter of right

Note: In all these contracts, monetary compensation is not an adequate relief because the injured party will not be able to get an exact substitute in the market.



Kapil agreed to sell an old painting to Ajay for ₹ 50,000. Subsequently, Kapil refused to sell the painting. Since there were no exact substitute for the old painting, Ajay may file a suit against Kapil for the specific performance of the contract.

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