Specific Relief Act: Problem Question Solved!

Tanmoy is renowned singer who agreed to sing at the Cultural Program of City College on 5th July 2016. The student oriented cultural club of the college are the organizers of the event. Tanmoy is a heart throb among the students and they are excited to see him perform. Tanmoy was paid in advance a cheque of 10 thousand taka for his upcoming performance. On 1st July, just 4 days before the program, the head of City College Cultural Club receives an email from Tanmoy which was an apology letter. Tanmoy stated that on 5th July he wont be able to perform in the College Program and has been hired by television channel RTV for a live musical program on 5th July. Now City College wants your advice on whether it can compel Tanmoy to perform in the cultural program or not.

Ans. In the above circumstance, City College cannot obtain an order of specific performance of contract against Tanmoy to compel him to perform in the Cultural Program. According to s. 21 (a) and (b) of the Specific Relief Act 1877, the court shall not enforce the specific performance when:

  • ‌Pecuniary Compensation will be adequate for non-performance
  • ‌The contract is so minutely detailed on the personal qualification of the party that the court cannot endorse specific performance on them. (Azizur Rahman v Burmah Oil Company)

Therefore, City College cannot compel Tanmoy to perform. However as a remedy, I would advice it to file a suit for permanent injunction or injunction to perform negative agreement under s.57 of the Act, against Tanmoy to prevent him performing in RTV program.

s. 57 states not withstanding anything contained in s.56 (F), where there is one affirmative agreement to do an act and one negative agreement express or implied not to do a certain act in a contract, if the court cannot enforce the affirmative agreement, it doesn’t prevent it to enforce the negative one.

From our fact, the agreement of performing in City College function was the affirmative agreement while not performing anywhere else on such date was the negative one. Therefore, applying s.57, Tanmoy can be prevented from performing in RTV due to the negative agreement enforced by the court upon its discretion.

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