Land Sale Agreement Dispute: A Case of Readiness and Willingness

In a significant legal case recently decided by the Supreme Court of India, a dispute arose concerning a land sale agreement. The case involved the plaintiff seeking specific performance of the agreement for sale dated 10.11.1989, related to lands owned by Defendants 1 and 2. The plaintiff’s readiness and willingness to perform obligations under the contract, as well as the subsequent actions of the defendants, were key points of contention. Let’s delve into the details of this case showcasing the importance of readiness and willingness in contract enforcement.


  • The Trial Court and the First Appellate Court found readiness and willingness on the part of the plaintiff based on a certificate from the Sub-Registrar.
  • The High Court had the power to overturn the concurrent findings if they were deemed as perverse.
  • The High Court, in a second appeal, reversed the lower court’s decisions granting the plaintiff’s suit for specific performance.
  • The first appeal by the defendants was rejected, stating that defendant nos. 4 to 7 were not genuine purchasers.
  • Plaintiff filed a suit for specific performance of an agreement for sale dated 10.11.1989 regarding 2/3 of the lands owned by Defendants 1 and 2 as Defendant No 3 declined to sign the agreement.
  • Earnest money of Rs. 50,000/- paid, with a balance consideration of Rs.3,10,490/- due at the time of execution.
  • Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 failed to appear for execution at the Sub-Registrar’s office on the specified date of 30.04.1990.
  • Extension of time granted by Trial Court for depositing balance consideration reflects plaintiff’s readiness and willingness to perform obligations.
  • Plaintiff never received purported notices from Defendants 1 and 2 requiring execution of the sale deed on 25.06.1990.
  • Defendant Nos. 1 and 2 proceeded to sell the lands to Defendant Nos. 4 to 7 during the pendency of the proceedings, raising questions about the bonafide nature of the subsequent sale.

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  • The certificate from the office of the Sub-Registrar cannot be conclusive evidence to non-suit defendants 1 and 2.
  • The plaintiff failed to offer any explanation for not depositing the balance consideration within the time granted by the Trial Court.
  • The grant of extension of time for deposit does not automatically demonstrate readiness and willingness on the part of the plaintiff.
  • The plaintiff did not plead sufficient, substantial, and cogent grounds to seek extension of time for deposit.
  • The plaintiff filed an application for extension of time after the prescribed period had expired, indicating a lack of readiness and willingness.
  • The plea that the amount would lie in the bank without interest is unfounded and against normal banking practice.
  • The plaintiff’s conduct and lack of explanation show an incapacity to perform obligations under the contract.
  • Specific performance of a contract cannot be enforced in favor of a person who fails to aver and prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract which are to be performed by him.
  • This includes terms the performance of which has been prevented or waived by the defendant.
  • Equity demands that discretion not be exercised in favor of the respondent decree-holders and no extension of time be granted to them to comply with the decree.
  • In the case of V.S. Palanichamy Chettiar Firm vs C. Alagappan, it was observed that the plaintiff failed to show readiness and willingness to perform obligations under the agreement for sale due to the delay in depositing the balance amount of consideration.
  • The High Court has the power to interfere if a substantial question of law arises due to the lower appellate court’s failure to consider important evidence with a direct bearing on the disputed issue.
  • The plaintiff’s failure to prove readiness and willingness to perform obligations under the agreement for sale led to the conclusion that there was no merit in the appeal.
  • The respondent is not entitled to retain the earnest money in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.
  • Provisions to grant specific performance of an agreement are stringent, and equitable considerations come into play.
  • The fact that the defendants subsequently sold the land at a lesser price due to personal necessity mitigates against the plaintiff’s claim of readiness and willingness to perform their part of the obligations under the contract.

Also Read: Land Ownership Dispute: Supreme Court Judgment on Correcting Revenue Records


  • The appeal has been dismissed.
  • No order has been made regarding costs.
  • The amount to be refunded to the appellant without interest within one month.
  • If not refunded within the stipulated time, interest at the rate of 7 per cent will be applied.

Also Read: Justice Served: Acquittal Upheld in Pradhan v. State


Case Number: C.A. No.-002837-002837 / 2011

Click here to read/download original judgement

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