6 Jul 2010

No relief which is not sought in pleadings: Supreme Court

We had earlier written about the law on the issue that Court will not grant relief in the absense of proper assistance by lawyers. On similar lines, in a recent decision, the Supreme Court has explained that courts will decline to grant relief which has not specifically been sought in the pleadings by the parties. Holding that a Court can only provide relief to the parties which seek crave to seek in terms of their pleadings, the Supreme Court declared that it was not for the Court to indulge in providing reliefs which even the parties have not sought.

The Bench explained the law in the following terms; 
29. In Messrs. Trojan & Co. Vs. RM.N.N. Nagappa Chettiar AIR 1953 SC 235, this Court considered the issue as to whether relief not asked for by a party could be granted and that too without having proper pleadings. The Court held as under:
“It is well settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. Without an amendment of the plaint, the Court was not entitled to grant the relief not asked for and no prayer was ever made to amend the plaint so as to incorporate in it an alternative case.”
30. A similar view has been re-iterated by this Court in Krishna Priya Ganguly etc. Vs. University of Lucknow & Ors. etc. AIR 1984 SC 186; and Om Prakash & Ors. Vs. Ram Kumar & Ors., AIR 1991 SC 409, observing that a party cannot be granted a relief which is not claimed.
31. Dealing with the same issue, this Court in Bharat Amratlal Kothari Vs. Dosukhan Samadkhan Sindhi & Ors., AIR 2010 SC 475 held:
“Though the Court has very wide discretion in granting relief, the court, however, cannot, ignoring and keeping aside the norms and principles governing grant of relief, grant a relief not even prayed for by the petitioner.”
32. In Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd. & Anr. Vs. Sarat Chandra Rath &Ors., AIR 1996 SC 2744, this Court held that “the High Court ought not to have granted reliefs to the respondents which they had not even prayed for.”
33. In view of the above, law on the issue can be summarised that the Court cannot grant a relief which has not been specifically prayed by the parties.

No comments: