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Temporary Injunction Under CPC

Introduction

An injunction is a restraining writ issued by a court at the request of a party plaintiff, directed to a party defendant in action, or a party made a defendant for that purpose, barring the other from doing something, or allowing his servants or agents to do something, that he is threatening or trying to do, or restraining him from continuing to do something, that is unjust and unfair, harmful to the Plaintiff, and unable to be effectively redressed.

Types of Injunctions

  1. Preliminary Injunction
  2. Preventive Injunction
  3. Mandatory Injunction
  4. Temporary restraining order
  5. Permanent Injunction

Injunctions are documented by several Relief Acts (Specific Relief Act, 1963) and are carried out following the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

For example – if the Plaintiff is suing a name and a particular label for his product of, let’s say, pencils to sell them in the market and found that Defendant has been using the same label and copyrighted name to sell his products of pencils and stationery then the Plaintiff can file suit demanding Injunction based on trademark infringement or through intellectual property rights.

Suppose someone is demolishing a building on which another person has rights. In that case, that person may approach the appropriate Court to order that such person not demolish the property until the claim for the building is resolved and a judgment is rendered in his favor.

An injunction is a court-issued remedy that prevents the commission of a threat of wrongdoing or the continuance of a wrongdoing that has already occurred commenced.

Temporary Injunction (based on time)

The Court may impose a temporary restraining order to prevent the Defendant from causing any damage to the Plaintiff’s property or threatening to sell it. This is an interim relief provided to ensure that Plaintiff’s rights are not violated. The Court can issue this Injunction at any point throughout the trial, even before the case is resolved. The Civil Procedure Code of 1908 governs temporary injunctions. The following are the provisions that govern it

Section 94 – This section tries to prevent the defeat of justice. Sub clause (c) refers to awarding temporary injunctions and, in the event of non-compliance, even condemning the individual to civil prison or ordering the attachment and sale of his property.

Section 95 – If the Plaintiff’s claim is dismissed, the Court may award the Defendant to compensate if he requests it.

Order 39 of CPC –

1. Order 39, Rule 1 lists the circumstances in which the Court may grant a temporary injunction as a statutory relief, and they include:-

  1. If the property in question is in danger of being squandered, damaged, alienated, or unlawfully sold by one of the parties to the litigation, the Court may order that it be maintained.
  2. If Plaintiff is threatened with eviction or property damage by Defendant during the property dispute.
  3. Assume Defendant has broken the law or breached a contract. The ground described before is also emphasized in Order 39, Rule 2 of the CPC, 1908.
  4. Finally, if the Court believes it would be in the best interests of justice, it may issue an injunction.

2. Order 39, Rule 2-A, deals with an individual’s failure to comply with an injunction; they are fined.

  1. It stipulates that the person be held in civil prison for a maximum of three months.
  2. It also allows for the attachment of that person’s property for a period of up to a year. If the delinquency persists, however, the property may be sold.

3. In most cases, the court must notify the opposing party of the injunction request. Even yet, under Order 39, Rule 3, the Court can issue an ex-parte injunction if it feels the order’s aim will be jeopardized by the delay. In the case of Union of India v. Era Educational Trust[1](2000), the Supreme Court established precise guiding principles for courts to follow when deciding on an ex-parte injunction.

  1. Will Plaintiff suffer irreparable harm as a result of Defendant’s actions?
  2. Is there a greater risk of injustice if an ex-parte injunction is not granted?
  3. Is it possible that the timing of the application for an ex-parte jurisdiction was chosen with malice?
  4. The courts will also take into account the broad concept of balance as well as irreparable harm.

4. According to Order 39, an injunction may be cancelled, altered, or set aside if any unhappy party files an appeal against it.

i. The injunction was issued without the participation of the other party, notwithstanding the fact that the injunction application and supporting documentation contained intentionally false or misleading assertions. As a result, the Court will lift the injunction. It can, however, keep the injunction in place if it judges – for reasons to be documented – that it is not essential for the discussion of injustice.

ii. Furthermore, if the party against whom the Injunction is given has endured undue burdens due to a change in circumstances, the Court may set aside the Injunction.

5. Order 39, Rule 5 emphasizes that if an injunction is given against a corporation or a business, the Court’s authority extends to the corporation as a whole and the members and executives of the corporation whose personal actions it wishes to restrain.

Requirements for Temporary Injunctions

1. Prima Facie Case

The basis for a lawsuit is a contested subject. The circumstances in those inquiries suggest that the Plaintiff or Defendant may be entitled to compensation. A prima facie case does not mean that the Plaintiff or Defendant has constructed an impregnable case that will almost certainly win in court. Simply put, the case they build for their Injunction must be strong enough to avoid being rejected immediately.

2. Irreparable Loss

It would be a grave injustice if a person experienced irreparable harm as a result of the lawsuit before his legal entitlement was determined in court. Situations like frustration over the loss of a sentimental item, on the other hand, will not be regarded irreparable damage. If the Court does not have a fair or reasonable address, things that can be repaired by nature will be regarded irreparable damage. When harm is persistent and recurring, or when it can only be repaired through a series of litigation, it is usually irreversible. The difficulty of determining the level of injury and inflicted damage is frequently referred to as “irreparable damage.” However, just because it’s difficult to prove injury doesn’t mean it’s irreversible.

3. Balance of convenience

The Court must weigh the parties’ cases and determine whether the comparative harm or annoyance that would ensue if the Injunction was not granted is higher than the harm or inconvenience that would result from granting it.

These requirements were laid under the Dalpat Kumar and Another v. Pralhad Singh And Others (1991[2]).

Facts of the case

A total of four litigation were brought in this case under CPC Order 39. On June 14, 1979, the appellant (Dalpat Kumar) and the respondent (Prahlad Singh) agreed to the acquisition of a residential residence in Jaipur for Rs. 51,000. An action for particular performance was filed by the appellant. The respondent’s wife sought a provisional injunction for the repossession of the residential house on April 28, 1984. The trial court denied the appellant’s request for an ad interim injunction in May 1984, but the High Court upheld it on appeal on July 14, 1987.

The sons filed the lawsuit, saying that the residential residence was their joint property and that no property sale would bind them. Thus they sought partition. They also sought an interim injunction, which the High Court denied on July 7, 1988. The respondent filed the fourth lawsuit on December 7, 1988, alleging that the first appellant had committed fraud. He then requested an interim order to prevent the residential house from being repossessed. The High Court granted an interim injunction preventing appellants from taking possession of the residential house in an order dated February 26, 1991.

Judgment

The Supreme Court ruled that the High Court erred in evaluating the balance of convenience in favour of issuing the injunction without taking into account any significant circumstances, evidence, or alienation. The Supreme Court overruled the ruling of the High Court and upheld the judgement of the trial court. The Supreme Court further decided that the decision to award the respondent a temporary injunction was made without considering all of the standards and principles outlined in CPC order 39.

Examples where temporary Injunction can be granted

1. When any property in a suit is likely to be wasted, destroyed, and estranged by any party to the suit, or illegally sold in in the operation of a decree; or

2. When Defendant threatens to deny the Plaintiff of his property or continues to threaten to cause injury to the Plaintiff in relation with the property in dispute in the suit; or

3. When Defendant threatens to deprive Plaintiff of his property or to inflict injury to him.

4. In every circumstance, to prevent the Defendant from breaching a contract or causing any other harm;

5. Where Sections 38 and 41 of the Specific Relief Act do not allow for the grant of an everlasting injunction or an obligatory injunction;

6. Where to stay, the implementation of an order for the transfer, suspension, reduction in rank, mandatory retirement, dismissal, removal, or other termination of employment of any individual appointed to a public service and post in connection with State matters, including any employee of any corporation owned or controlled by the state State Government.

7. Where to stay any disciplinary actions, pending or planned, against any person assigned to the public service and to a post in connection with the State’s business, including any employee of a corporation owned or controlled by the State’s government; or

8. To place restrictions on any election

9. Where to suspend proceedings for the recovery of any dues receivable as revenue on land until suitable security is supplied, and any injunction order imposed in violation of these rules shall be null and void.

Can an injunction be granted to Defendant?

When deciding whether or not to award injunctive relief, the Court considers the ‘Trinity of Principles,’ which include

(I) Balance of convenience;

(ii) Prima facie case; and

(iii) Irreparable harm or injury that cannot be repaid by money.

The Supreme Court recently issued a notice in the case of Tamminedi Ramakrishna Etc. v. N. Jayalakshmi[3]. The issue was whether the Defendant had any right to seek an injunction under Order XXXIX Rule 1 (c) of the Code.

The SLP challenges the Karnataka High Court’s order affirming the Trial Court’s decision and granted a temporary injunction under CPC in the Defendant’s favor under Order XXXIX Rule 1 (a), (b), and (c) r/w Section 151 of the Code. The High Court attempted to separate the three sub-rules of Order XXXIX Rule 1 of the Code, where sub-rules (b) and (c) provide a remedy limited to the Plaintiff, as opposed to sub-rule (a), which is a general provision, in the impugned ruling.

The opinions of various High Courts on the subject

The High Court of Travancore and Kochi (erstwhile) took the first position on this issue when it answered the question of whether the Defendant can petition for an injunction against the Plaintiff without filing a counter-claim. The Court answered yes in light of authorities in English Law, holding that Defendant can only seek a temporary injunction under CPC against Plaintiff if their claim arises out of or is incidental to Plaintiff’s cause of action. For decades, several High Courts have shared this viewpoint.

In Ganga Bricks Udhyog v. Jai Bhagwan Swarup[4], the Allahabad High Court provided interim relief to Defendant by requiring Plaintiff to provide security for Defendant’s loss in the event of the suit’s defeat. The Court found that the Defendant’s damage incurred due to the stay orders should also be protected because the defendants would be harmed if the claim was dropped, dismissed, or if the status quo continued during the suit’s pendency.

Final Interpretation

The Code provides for a variety of ways for a party to seek a temporary injunction under CPC, as has been extensively debated. The legislature’s aim, in the judgment, is evident from the terms employed in Order XXXIX Rule 1, which specifically allows for the Plaintiff’s remedy against Defendant’s action/inaction under sub rule (b) and (c) (c). It is just sub-rule (a) that is written in a non-partisan manner. As a result, the legislature has made an intentional distinction between Plaintiff and Defendant in terms of the remedies available under the Code. As a result, it would be improper for the Court to rule in the opposite direction, contrary to the legislature’s objective.

Conclusion

A sort of equitable remedies is an injunction. The Court has complete discretion in granting or denying an injunction. Regardless of how good the applicant’s reason is, seeking redress as a matter of right is not attainable. As a result, using the power to issue an injunction requires extreme caution, awareness, and forethought. It is a rare and sensitive power that has the ability to cause the innocent party to suffer losses or disadvantages. As a result, unlike everything else in the world, an injunction does not come with a guarantee.

A party cannot merely request a temporary restraining order; it cannot be denied arbitrarily by the Court. The Court has complete discretion in granting or denying an injunction. The aforementioned ideas reflect the Court’s discretion, which is exercised in each case depending on the facts and circumstances. Regardless of how good the applicant’s case is, the relief cannot be sought as a matter of right. As a result, using the power to issue an injunction requires extreme caution, awareness, and forethought.

[1] Special Leave Petition (civil) 3360 of 2000

[2] AIR 1993 SC 276 b

[3] SLP (C) No(s). 12678-12679/2021, Order dated 23.08.2021

[4] AIR 1982 All 333

This Article has been written by Tushar Tyagi, 1st Year Student at National Law University, Sonipat

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