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This article is written by Aarchie Chaturvedi, and further updated by Shefali Chitkara. This is an exhaustive article explaining the meaning of an injunction, describing their types and including the concepts of discretionary relief, disobedience, arbitration and damages in cases of injunction. The authors have tried to give a brief overview with a focus on the need and relevance of such preventive measures in upholding equity and ensuring justice. Further, the authors have mentioned laws that govern various types of injunctions and the requisites for presenting an injunction application or a suit in the case of a permanent injunction before the court. The author has also tried to explore similarities and differences in different types of injunctions through various landmark judgements.

This article has been published by Shashwat Kaushik.

Table of Contents


What if a person is throwing waste material or blood remains of a slaughterhouse in front of your house continuously, carrying construction work in your plot of land despite you trying to stop the same, or utilising the work of one company in a new company when specifically barred from doing the same? In all these circumstances, there is a need to prevent or mandate the doing of something in order to ensure the enjoyment of rights by another person. A court can issue injunction orders in these cases and thereby prevent a person from creating nuisances for the applicant. An application can be filed before the court in the cases of temporary injunctions and a suit in cases of permanent injunction.

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What is an injunction

Injunction litigation is a crazy ride consisting of low points, high points, twists, turns, and challenges. An injunction, by its very name, means preventive relief. The grant of an injunction is an equitable remedy that prevents a defendant party from doing certain demonstrations or certain acts or makes them do such acts so that they are not bothersome or do not cause any nuisance to the plaintiff.

When a court comes up with a judgment in such a suit, the parties must abide by and adhere to the ruling, in the absence of which there can be severe monetary penalties or even imprisonment in a few cases.

An injunction can be defined as discretionary relief by the court, either requiring the party to do something or refraining from doing something. It may be in the form of an interim order or a final order. The few instances where the remedy of injunction is used are:

  • To prevent someone from publishing content online or offline or to destroy the already published content,
  • To prevent from further construction on a piece of land or from selling or transferring any property in question,
  • To grant a search order,
  • To prevent someone from leaving the place or country.

Injunctions can be called one of the powerful tools that can be used by the courts to not only stop someone from violating another person’s rights but also to mandate the doing of an act to enforce another person’s rights. 

Historical background of injunctions

The origin of the power to grant injunctions is equity, and it has been the discretion of courts under equitable considerations. It can be traced back to the equity jurisprudence of England, which borrowed it from Roman law, where the injunctions were called ‘Interdict’. They were of three types, prohibitory, restitutory and exhibitory. At the time of Henry VI, injunctions developed as a chancery remedy whereby the Chancellor prohibited the execution of the decree of the common law court through this remedy. However, the same became a matter of conflict between the Chancery Court and the common law courts. Finally, the matter was referred to the then Attorney General, Bacon, who settled it in favour of the Chancellor. The remedy was affirmed and termed a strong arm of the court of equity.

Need of injunctions

When irreparable damage is suffered by an individual from the actions of another individual and the same cannot be remedied through any other means, there is a need for injunctions in order to stop that other individual from doing those certain actions.

  • It is necessary for the courts to grant injunctions in order to enforce and protect the rights of the people and prevent the breach of obligations that are in existence. 
  • While granting injunctions, the courts must also record reasons and objects and how the delay would defeat the purpose of law in this regard. 
  • It can only be issued against the party (the defendant) and not a stranger to the case or a third party, as has been held in the case of L.D Meston School Society v. Kashi Nath (1951)
  • If any other efficacious relief is available, then the courts can refuse to grant an injunction, and only a monetary loss can be the sole ground for claiming irreparable damage under an injunction.
  • It has been recognised as a legal tool for justice through which courts enforce the rights of individuals by granting injunctions against those who are violating such rights.
  • It is used as a preventive measure by restricting the one who creates a nuisance for others.
  • It is an equitable relief that aims at providing equity under the law to restore the positions of both parties.
  • It is essential in any legal system since it aims at maintaining the status quo of the parties by issuing such injunctions against the wrongdoer.
  • Apart from restricting, injunctions can also be granted to ensure specific performance of certain acts in order to uphold the rights of the affected party. 
  • It provides for a tailored solution for the parties based on facts and circumstances of each case by restricting anyone from creating nuisance or ordering the destruction of such posts that could affect the plaintiff.
  • Further, the injunctions aim to undo the irreparable harm suffered by any party. 

Laws governing injunctions

The provisions regarding injunctions are covered under three main acts:

Under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, Section 91 states about the institution of a suit for a declaration and injunction in cases of public nuisance or other wrongful acts affecting or which may affect the public, by the Advocate- General or two or more persons with the permission of the court. Further, Sections 94 and 95 also talk about temporary injunctions granted by the courts to meet the ends of justice and compensation against the plaintiff for obtaining an injunction on insufficient grounds. Furthermore, Rule 32 of Order XXI talks about the enforcement of a decree for a specific performance or for an injunction. Order XXXIX specifically deals with temporary injunctions and interlocutory orders. 

The Specific Relief Act, 1963, was enacted for the protection and enforcement of the primary rights of the parties. It provides for the following reliefs:

  • Recovery of possession of property
  • Specific performance
  • Rectification or cancellation of instrument
  • Recession of contract
  • Declaratory decree
  • Injunctions

Injunctions are provided as preventive reliefs under this Act. The Act talks about three types of injunctions, temporary, perpetual and mandatory. A temporary injunction is also provided under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. A perpetual injunction is permanent in nature, unlike a temporary injunction, and a decree is passed for the same. A mandatory injunction is aimed at making an individual do something in order to enforce the rights of another individual, like an injunction for destroying the already published copies that are infringing on the rights of the other party. 

Part III of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, deals with these preventive reliefs. Chapter VII talks about injunctions generally, under which Section 36 states that preventive relief is granted by temporary and perpetual injunctions at the discretion of the court. Section 37 gives an explanation of temporary and perpetual injunctions, as mentioned below. Further, Chapter VIII talks about perpetual injunctions. Section 38 states the cases wherein the court can grant perpetual injunctions. Section 39 mentions the mandatory injunctions. 

Section 40 also states that damages can be provided in lieu of, or in addition to, injunctions when claimed by the plaintiff. Section 41 outlines the circumstances under which an injunction cannot be granted. Section 42 also states that the court can grant an injunction to perform a negative agreement when a contract comprises both an affirmative agreement and a negative agreement, even when the court is unable to compel specific performance of an affirmative agreement.

In addition to these, Sections 133, 142 and 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, also deal with the grant of injunctions by the court in cases of nuisance.

Requisites for an injunction application

In order for an injunction application to succeed, the following three points have to be established or an application for injunction should be furnished when:

  • There exists a strong prima facie case in favour of the petitioner, the word “prima facie” means either on first sight, on the first presence, or on the face of it. Prima facie case means that recorded evidence should fairly enable the complainant’s search for the inference. In Martin Burn Ltd. vs. R.N. Banerjee (1957), the Court discussed the meaning of the ‘prima facie’ case. The Court noted, “A prima facie case does not mean a case proved to the hilt but a case which can be said to be established if the evidence which is led in support of the same were believed. While determining whether a prima facie case had been made out the relevant consideration is whether on the evidence led it was possible to arrive at the conclusion in question and not whether that was the only conclusion which could be arrived at on that evidence.” Prima facie case is a prerequisite for obtaining a temporary injunction. However, it is not sufficient and the only requirement of obtaining the injunctions because in order to obtain an order of temporary injunction, it has to be further proved that if the order is not granted, it will lead to irreparable damage for the petitioner. Further, in 2023, Justice Rajnesh Oswal, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court reiterated that if, in a case for injunction, a party fails to prove a prima facie case, the court cannot grant the injunction order even if the balance of convenience is in their favour. The Court is not required to consider the balance of convenience and irreparable injury if a prima facie case is not proved.

The principle of ‘prima facie case’ was adopted by the courts in the case of Israil v. Samser Rahman (1913), where the Court clarified that the Court at the first stage has to determine whether there is a bona fide contention between the parties or there is a substantial question that has to be decided by the Court. Later, the Court also noted that the probability of success in the suit is also necessary for establishing a prima facie case. 

  • The balance of convenience also lies in the favour of the petitioner, “Irreparable harm” means any injury that cannot be fixed by damages adequately. The remedy in the form of damages would be insufficient if any were payable to the plaintiff in the case of victory in the litigation. It will not put him in the same place where he was before the injunction was denied. In the case of Anwar Elahi v. Vinod Misra and Anr (1995), the meaning of “balance of convenience” was explained by the Delhi High Court. According to the Court, “Balance of convenience” means that when comparative mischief or inconvenience which is likely to arise from withholding the injunction is greater than that which is likely to arise from granting it, a balance has to be drawn. While applying this principle, the court has to measure the amount of substantial inconvenience that is likely to be caused to the applicant if the injunction is rejected and compare it with that which is likely to be caused to the other side if the injunction is granted. 
  • The petitioner would suffer irreparable damage in case the injunction is not granted in his favour. The question of balance of convenience arises where there is uncertainty as to the satisfaction of the respective remedies in damages available to either party or both. The parties must strike a proper balance, and the balance cannot be a one-sided affair. In the case of Dinesh Mathur v. O.P. Arora and Ors (1997), the appellants have been using the premises for commercial purposes since 1937. The respondent then filed a suit for the first time after 54 years on the ground that respondent had violated conditions of the lease. The Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that granting injunction is a matter of discretion. Balance of convenience and irreparable injury are triable issues and are required to be proved positively. But, in this case, the proof of the same was lacking, the balance of convenience did not lie in the favour of respondent for issuing injunction order. Thus, the injunction was granted in such a case. 

Further, in the case of Nagar Palika, Raisinghnagar v. Rameshwar Lal and Another (2017), the Supreme Court highlighted the importance of three ingredients for the grant of injunctions. In this case, the plaintiff had filed a suit for permanent injunction to restrain the defendant, Nagar Palika, from dispossessing the plaintiff from the suit land. The plaintiff was able to prove that he was holding a patta of land and was in possession of the same. He also established all three ingredients for the relief of injunctions, prima facie case, balance of convenience, and irreparable injury if the prayer is not granted. Thus, the plaintiff was rightly granted a permanent injunction against the defendant in relation to the said suit land. 

Types of injunction 

The Specific Relief Act, 1963 discusses the various types of injunctions. To prevent possible future injury to the plaintiff, the plaintiff would have to bear the consequences if the relief is refused. There are certain kinds of injunctions provided, as mentioned below:

Temporary injunction

Under the Specific Relief Act, 1963, Section 37 deals with a temporary injunction. Temporary injunctions continue for a specified period of time or until the further order of the court. They may be allowed at any stage in a suit and are managed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. 

The essential purpose of granting this injunction is to secure the interests of an individual or the property of the suit until the final judgement is passed. The factors looked into while providing such an injunction are:

  1. If a party has a prima facie case,
  2.  If the balance of convenience is in favour of the complainant,
  3. Whether the plaintiff would suffer irreparable damages if the injunction were not allowed?

The time period of such an injunction is dependent on the discretion of the court. This kind of injunction was also provided in the case of Union of India v. Bhuneshwar Prasad (1962), wherein the Patna High Court rejected the application filed by the defendant against the order of the Ld. District Judge, who upheld the order of grant of temporary injunction to the plaintiff restraining the defendant from removing the plaintiff from the services as there was a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiff and there was a balance of convenience in his favour as well.

Some examples of cases, as stated in Rule 1 of Order XXXIX of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, where a temporary injunction can be granted are:

  • Where any property in dispute in a suit is probable of getting wasted, destroyed or estranged by any party to the suit, or illegally sold in execution of a decree; or
  • Where the defendant threatens to remove or dispose of his property in order to defraud his creditors; or
  • Where the defendant threatens to deprive the plaintiff of his property or threatens to cause injury to the plaintiff in connection with the property in dispute in the suit; or
  • In any case to prevent the defendant from committing a breach of a contract or any other injury;
  • Where, pursuant to Sections 38 and 41 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, no perpetual injunction or mandatory injunction could be granted;
  • Where to stay the operation of an order for the transfer, suspension, reduction of rank, obligatory retirement, dismissal, removal or otherwise termination of service of any person appointed to public service and post in connection with State affairs, including any employee of any company or company-owned or controlled by the Government of the State;
  • Where to stay any disciplinary proceedings, pending or intended or having the effect of any adverse entry against any person appointed to the public service and to post in connection with the State’s affairs, including any employee of the company owned or controlled by the State Government; or 
  • To restrict any election;
  • Where to restrain any auction intended to be made or restrain the effect of any government auction; or stay the proceedings for the recovery of any dues recoverable as revenue on land unless adequate security is provided, and any injunction order granted in breach of these provisions shall be void.

In all cases, except where the object of granting the injunction appears to be defeated by the delay even before the injunction is granted, the Court shall issue a direct notice of the request for the same to be given to the other party:

Provided that, where it is proposed to grant an injunction without notice to the other party, the Court records the reasons for its view that the purpose of granting the injunction would be defeated by delay and requires the applicant to:

(a) deliver to or send to the other party by registered post, immediately after the order of granting the injunction, 

(i) a copy of the request for the injunction together with a copy of the affidavit filed in support of the request;

(ii) a copy of the complaint; and

(iii) a copy of the documents on which the applicant relies; 

(b) to file, on the day on which such an injunction is granted or on the day immediately following that day, an affidavit stating that the copies aforesaid have been so delivered or sent. 

However, the court must dispose of such suits within a period of thirty days from the date of granting an injunction, and in instances where it is not able to do so, it must specify the reasons for its inability.

Order for injunction may be discharged, varied or set aside

Order XXXIX Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 also states that any order for injunction may be discharged, varied or set aside by the Court at the request of any party who is dissatisfied with the order. The proviso also states that the Court has to vacate the injunction if a party in an injunction application has made a false or misleading statement in relation to a material particular and the injunction was granted without giving notice to the opposite party.

Further, where an injunction has been issued after giving a party the opportunity to be heard, the order shall not be discharged, varied, or set aside on the request of that party unless such discharge, variation, or set-aside is necessitated by a change of circumstances or unless the Court is satisfied that the order has caused that party difficulty and hardship.

Injunction binding on officers of the corporation

An injunction against a corporation is binding not only on the corporation itself but also on all members and officers of the corporation whose personal actions it seeks to curtail.

The interlocutory orders passed with regard to injunctions as stated in the CPC are as follows:

Power to order interim sale 

Upon application by any party to a lawsuit, the Court may order the sale by any person named in that order, and on such terms as it considers fit, of any movable property that is the subject of such a lawsuit or that is attached before a judgement in such a lawsuit, which is subject to rapid and natural decline, or which it may, for any other just and sufficient reason, be desirable to be sold off.

Detention, preservation, inspection, etc. of the subject-matter of the lawsuit

(1) The Court may, at the request of any party to the proceedings and under such conditions as it considers fit:

(a) make an order for the detention, preservation or inspection of any property that is the subject of the proceedings or as to which any question may arise therein; 

(b) for all or any of the aforementioned purposes authorise any such person for any such purpose;

(c) authorise samples to be taken or any observations to be made or experiments to be tested for all or any of the aforementioned purposes which may seem necessary or useful for the purpose of obtaining full information or evidence.

(2) The provisions governing the execution of the proceedings shall, mutatis mutandis (making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point at issue), apply to a person authorised to enter under this rule.

Application for such orders to be made after notice 

(1) The plaintiff may request an order under Rule 6 at any time after the suit has been instituted.

(2) An application by the defendant for a similar order may be made at any time after its appearance.

(3) Before making an order pursuant to Rule 6 or Rule 7 on an application for that purpose, the Court shall, except where it appears that the purpose of making such an order would be defeated by a delay, issue a direct notice to the other party.

When a party may be put in immediate possession of land which is the subject-matter of a suit

This is applicable if the party is in possession of land which is paying revenue to Government or tenure liable to sale and fails to pay the Government revenue, or the rent due of the tenure to the proprietor and such land or tenure is consequently ordered to be sold. In such a case, any other party to the lawsuit claiming to have an interest in such land or tenure may, upon payment of the revenue or rent due previously to the sale (and with or without security at the discretion of the Court), be placed in immediate possession of the land or tenure.The Court in its decree, may award to the defaulting party the amount so paid, with interest at the rate that the Court considers fit. It may charge the amount so paid, with interest at the rate ordered by the Court, in any adjustment of the accounts may be directed by the decree passed in the suit.

Deposit of money, etc. in Court 

Where the object of a lawsuit is money or anything else capable of delivery and any party thereof admits that it holds such money or anything else as a trustee for another party or that it belongs to or is due to another party, the court may order the same to be deposited in court or delivered to that last-named party, with or without security, subject to the provisions of the judgement.

Perpetual injunction

When a perpetual injunction is granted by the judgement, it ultimately disposes of the injunction suit. It is ordered at the time when the final judgement is given. It is a final relief injunction and is not given on an interim basis. The granting of a perpetual injunction is defined under Section 37(2) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. The section says that only by the decree issued after an inquiry and on hearing the merits of the case can a perpetual injunction be granted; the defendant is thus perpetually enjoined to exercise his right or to forever pervade his conduct, which would be in conflict with the rights of the plaintiff. According to Section 38 of the aforesaid Act, a perpetual injunction can be granted to the plaintiff when:

(1) In order to avoid a breach of duty in his favour, either specifically or by consequences, subject to the other requirements contained or as provided for in this Section; and 

(2) If such obligations arise out of the contract, the court shall be directed by the provisions and rules contained in Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1963; and

(3) When the defendant invades or attempts to invade the plaintiff’s right to, or enjoyment of, property, the court may grant a perpetual injunction in the following cases, namely:

(a) where the defendant is the plaintiff’s property custodian; 

(b) where there is no standard for the determination of the actual damage caused, or where the invasion can reasonably be caused;

(c) where the invasion is such that adequate aid and help cannot be provided by compensation in money;

(d) where the injunction is required to avoid the ever-rising increase in the no.of multiplicity of judicial proceedings. Thus, there are different reasons for the existence of a perpetual injunction. 

The plaintiff must prove the breach of the obligation by showing the infringement of a legal right; thus, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. The plaintiff must also lawfully possess the item and must prove that the defendant had no legal possession over the item. An injunction cannot be sustained on the basis of wrongful possession against the lawful owner. 

The continuance of possession by the lessee (a person who holds the lease of a property; a tenant) without the consent of the lessor (a person who leases or lets a property to another; a landlord) may not be “lawful possession,” but it is “juridical possession,” and the juridical possession is protected by law, and an injunction can be granted in such cases. 

Ownership and lawful possession are two different things. A person can be evicted by the process of law, and such a person can resist any kind of invasion by the real owner and may be granted an injunction. The contract for litigation funds is not per se illegal, and the Court can grant an injunction to protect the rights of the plaintiff arising out of the obligation. In the case of Nuthaki Venkataswami v. Katta Nagi Reddy (1962), the Court held that the champertous agreement (the one in which a person not a party in a suit bargains to aid in prosecution or defense in consideration for a share in the proceeds) in itself is not void, and if the recovery is not against public policy, it can’t be called illegal, and thus an injunction may be granted.

In the case of Walter Louis Franklin v. George Singh (1996), where the plaintiff filed a pleading before the Court to grant perpetual injunction to restrain the defendant from unlawfully using his land where the defendant claimed that he was the real owner, the Court, however, held that the perpetual injunction shall be granted as the land was in the possession of the plaintiff.

Moreover, in 2020, it was ruled by Justice Mohd. Akram Chowdhary, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, while hearing a civil second appeal, that in case a suit is presented for grant of perpetual injunction, the plaintiff has to establish the title to claim settled possession over the property in question. 

Mandatory injunction

Section 39 of the Special Relief Act, 1963 deals with the Mandatory Injunction. The section doesn’t clearly define a mandatory injunction but deals with the grant of a mandatory injunction. The section says that in order to prevent the breach of an obligation, the court can compel the performance of certain actions at its discretion, which it is capable of enforcing and can issue injunctions for the infringement complained of. The principle of mandatory injunction is used to grant final relief and not interim reliefs, like in exceptional or exemplary cases like saving life, etc. There are essentially two conditions requested for mandatory injunctions:

(a) the defendant must be obliged to perform an act and any such breach of the obliged act must be claimed by the plaintiff;

(b) the reliefs, as asked for, must be enforceable by the court. The principle says that the defendant must do a positive act in order to restore the wrongful act committed by him. 

In Dorab Cawasji Warden v. Coomi Sorab Warden (1990), the Supreme Court held that: 

1. The complainant must present a strong case in the court and it should be of a level higher than that of the prima facie case; 

2. The plaintiff must make it clear that the grant of a mandatory injunction is obligatory to prevent irreparable damage or serious injury which cannot be compensated in terms of money; and,

3. The balance of convenience should also be in favour of the complainant as against the defendant.

In the case of Laxmi Narain Banerjee v. Tara Prosanna Banarjee (1904), where the plaintiff and the defendant were joint owners of the land and the defendant planted several trees that penetrated the foundation of the building and damaged it, the plaintiff then prayed for a mandatory injunction to the court, and the court accordingly granted it and held that the roots were damaging the building that belonged to the plaintiff. On the contrary, in the case of N.E. Sankarasubbu Pillai v. Parvathi Ammal Others (1960), the plaintiff, whose right to land was encroached upon by the defendants, pleaded before the court to grant a mandatory injunction which was not granted as the essential conditions for the mandatory injunction was not fulfilled. However, in the case of C. Kunhammad v. C.H. Ahamad Haji (2000), the plaintiff demanded a mandatory injunction alleging that his land had been trespassed by the defendant by drawing a pipeline on his land and digging a trench up to 65 feet. The court in this case accordingly granted it as it held that the essentials were fulfilled and directed the defendant to remove the pipeline.

Other type of injunctions mentioned under Specific Relief Act, 1963

Apart from the injunctions mentioned under the Specific Relief Act, 1963, there are various other types of injunctions as recognised by our legal system and which can be granted by the courts.

Interlocutory injunction

It is also a type of temporary injunction, similar to a temporary injunction. The same is issued by the court in the midst of the case while awaiting the ultimate order. The ultimate objective of this injunction is to maintain the status quo between the parties. In Wander v. Antox (1990), India, it was noted that the request for an order of interlocutory injunction is usually made when the plaintiff’s legal rights and its purported infringement are disputed. For granting or denying any interim injunction, the courts have to consider the following three factors:

  • There is a prima facie case as established by the petitioner,
  • The balance of convenience lies in the favour of the petitioner, and
  • The petitioner would suffer irreparable damage if an order granting an injunction is not passed in his favour.

Interlocutory Injunction versus Interim Injunction

An interim injunction is a temporary injunction which is granted by the courts before a trial in urgent cases where immediate action is sought and needed. However, an interlocutory injunction is granted after the trial but before the final decision is made. We can say that the major difference between the two lies in the timing at which they may be granted. Interim injunctions are usually granted on an ex-parte basis, whereas interlocutory injunctions are granted after hearing both parties. 

Preliminary injunction

Preliminary injunction is also granted before the trial ends and is referred to as an ad-interim injunction. The main aim of this injunction is the same as that of any temporary or interlocutory injunction, for maintaining the status quo of the parties until the final determination of the case. 

Prohibitory injunction

Prohibitory injunction is given under Section 38 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, and can also be called a restrictive injunction, which prohibits or abstains an individual from doing a specific act to prevent the violation of rights of the other individual.

Permanent injunction

Permanent injunction is also known as a perpetual injunction, which is granted by the Court as a decree after the hearing and conclusion of trial in a case. Through this decree, the defendant is permanently prohibited from doing a certain act which would be contrary to the plaintiff’s rights. The provisions of a permanent or perpetual injunction are not given in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but mentioned under Sections 37(2) and 38 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. In the case of K Venkata Rao v. Sunkara Venkata Rao (1998), the Court stated that the relief of permanent injunction cannot be given if any other alternative relief is available in any other usual proceedings. 

Quia Timet injunction

Quia Timet injunction was first discovered in English jurisprudence. This can be granted by the courts when the right of an individual has not been violated yet but there is an apprehension about the same or it has been threatened to be injured. This injunction may be temporary or perpetual, prohibitory or mandatory. In the case of Redland Bricks v. Morris (1970), it was held that there must be clear and strong proof regarding a violation of right that is likely to happen. There could be two types of Quia Timet as described by Lord Upjohn. The one where the defendant has not caused any damage till now but is threatening to do the same and the other where the plaintiff has been compensated for the damage he has suffered and claims that there could be more lawsuits against the actions of the same defendant in the near future. 

In India, Mars Incorporated v. Kumar Krishna Mukherjee and Ors. (2003) was the first case where the Delhi High Court established the Quia Timet Action principle under the law of injunctions. In this case, there was a threatened invasion by the defendant of the food items of the plaintiff, who was the proprietor of the trademark “MARS”. The defendant did not start their business under the name of the plaintiff but was a mere threat to the plaintiff. Thus, the Court granted them an injunction by Quia Timet Action and held that the apprehension by the plaintiff that the defendant may start manufacturing under the same trade name is a real possibility, and the plaintiff would suffer great hardship in that scenario. 

Dynamic injunction

In the digital world, the courts have largely granted dynamic injunctions against rogue websites and URLs. This injunction helps the Intellectual Property rights holders. In the case of UTV Software Communication Ltd. v. 1337X.TO and Ors (2019), the Delhi High Court defined dynamic injunctions as an injunction order that is dynamic and not static, because even if it is passed against one such website, it will automatically apply to any other mirror websites that are made. In this case, the plaintiffs sought an injunction against the websites created by the defendant, who were infringing on the copyrighted work of the plaintiffs by communicating it to the public, enabling the users to download and share the same. The Delhi High Court tried to frame a solution to combat rogue websites. Rogue websites are those that predominantly share infringing content. The Court concluded that the websites of the defendants were rogue websites and should be blocked. By exercising the inherent powers mentioned under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the Court developed the concept and remedy of dynamic injunction in this case. 

The basic problem with blocking specific websites is that they tend to create mirror websites which would have different URLs. This is a very easy task; thus, these types of injunctions were developed in order to combat such practices. The said injunction order will now be automatically applied to all the mirror websites and will block new means of accessing the infringing websites. This was much needed to prevent multiple suits by the same plaintiff, save time for the courts, and also protect the plaintiff. Though the judgement in the above-mentioned case has been given with proper reasons, it has not dealt with the following issues:

  • The evidence required to prove that the websites are infringing, and
  • The manner in which the affected party will be communicated about the blocking of websites.

It can be clearly seen that the dynamic injunction is the result of judicial adaptations. 

Anton Piller Order

These orders are generally given for the purpose of enabling one party to gain access to the premises of another party and thereby giving that party the right to search and seize the infringing materials that could be used as evidence. Under Indian law, as per Rule 1 of Order XXX of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, we have the provision for “John Doe Order or Ashok Kumar Order” which can be issued when the plaintiff has reason to believe that their copyrights, trade secrets, or any other works can be copied for financial gain. It was first issued by the Delhi High Court in the case of Taj Television Ltd. and Others v. Rajan Mandal and Others (2002). In this case, unlicensed cable operators were restrained from broadcasting the FIFA World Cup of 2002 as the defendants herein were illegally transferring through the plaintiff’s channel. A John Doe order was passed against the whole world by the court. It is usually passed or required when the identity of the defendants is unknown at the time and an unknown party is sued by the plaintiffs since it is practically impossible for the plaintiffs to identify all the infringing parties. The plaintiff has to satisfy the following essentials in order to obtain a John Doe order:

  • The plaintiff has to completely disclose all the information of the work which is sought to be protected, including the previous breach of such rights and actions taken to protect the same.
  • There must be proof of rampant infringement or apprehension of such infringement.
  • There must be a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiff.
  • The proof of irreparable harm to the plaintiff if the order is not passed in his favour.

Further, to make it easier to understand, the Delhi Court in the case of Luxottica Group Limited vs. M/s Mify Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (2009), passed a John Doe order against several unknown defendants for selling counterfeit ‘Ray Ban’ products. In another case of Ardath Tobacco Company Ltd. vs. Mr. Munna Bhai (2009), this injunction order was passed against the defendants from selling counterfeit cigarettes under the trademark of plaintiff. 

Mareva injunction

Mareva injunction is usually granted in order to restrict a party from dispossessing the assets that can be used to satisfy a prospective judgement. This is frequently used in cases of asset misappropriation and was first granted in the case of Nippon Yusen Kaisha v. Karageorgis (1975). This injunction is regarded as an order for attachment before a judgement is pronounced under Rule 5 of Order XXXVIII under the Code of Civil Procedure. In the above-mentioned case, three ships were let on charter by the shipowners in Japan. The persons to whom the ships were chartered did not give the rents as decided through the contract and went missing thereafter. The plaintiffs had reason to believe that defendants had funds in the banks of London, and to retain the money there, they filed for an interim injunction so that it could not be transmitted out of the jurisdiction. The Court noted that this type of injunction has never been given before so as to seize the assets of the defendants in advance of judgement. There was a strong prima facie case, and if the injunction is not granted, the money could be removed from the jurisdiction and cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs. Thus, this injunction was granted in favour of the plaintiff. 

Difference between temporary and mandatory injunction

Basis of differentiationTemporary InjunctionMandatory Injunction
Time periodTemporary injunctions continue for a specified period of time or until the further order of the court.The principle of mandatory injunction is used to grant final relief and not the interim relief.
ProvisionsIt is discussed under Section 37 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.It is discussed under Section 39 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.
PurposeThe essential purpose for granting this injunction is to secure the interests of an individual or the property of the suit until the final judgement is passed.The essential purpose of granting a mandatory injunction is to control exceptional or exemplary cases like saving a life, etc.
EssentialsThe factors looked into while providing such an injunction are:(a) If a party has a case of prima facie?(b) If the balance of convenience is in favour of the complainant?(c) Whether the plaintiff would suffer irreparable damages before the judgement is passed?There are essentially two conditions requested for mandatory injunctions.(a) the defendant must be obliged to perform an act and any such breach of the obliged act must be claimed by the plaintiff.(b) the reliefs, as asked for, must be enforceable by the court. The principle says that the defendant must do a positive act in order to restore the wrongful act committed by him. 
Relevant JudgementThis kind of injunction was also provided in the case of Union of India v. Bhuneshwar Prasad (1962), where a railway employee had filed a suit against his removal from service stating that his suspension was illegal. He was granted an interim injunction restricting the defendant from removing him from service until the suit is decided and it was also observed that this did not mean that he would be put back to work. If a case is a proper one for specific performance and the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable injury unless the breach of contract is immediately restrained, the court will grant a temporary injunction to limit the breach of contract.An example of this kind of an injunction can be the case of Laxmi Narain Banerjee v. Tara Prosanna Banarjee (1904), where the plaintiff and the defendant who were joint owners of the land and the defendant planted several trees that penetrated the foundation of the building and damaged it, the plaintiff then prayed for mandatory injunction to the court and the court accordingly granted it and held that the roots were damaging the building that belonged to the plaintiff. Thus, two conditions essential for mandatory injunction were fulfilled. Firstly, the defendant was obliged to see that the trees he planted did not penetrate and damage the foundation of the building but he failed to do so. And secondly, the damages asked for by the plaintiff were enforceable in the particular court and so the mandatory injunction was granted.

Difference between temporary and permanent injunctions

Basis of differentiationTemporary InjunctionPermanent Injunction
Application or suitOnly an application is filed for temporary injunction.A suit is filed for permanent injunction
Time periodIt is continued for a specified period of time or until further orders of the court but not after the case.It can only be granted by the decree made at the hearing and upon the merits of the case.
Order or decreeAn order is passed for temporary injunction.The conclusion of the trial results in decree in the case of permanent injunction.
Another nameIt can also be called an interlocutory injunction.It is also known as perpetual injunction.
Stage The order for temporary injunction is passed during the pendency of the suit.The order for permanent injunction is passed at the end of and upon the merits of the case. 
Provisions It is given under Code of Civil Procedure (Order XXXIX) as well as the Specific Relief Act (Section 37 (1)). The provisions regarding the permanent or perpetual injunction are given under the Specific Relief Act (Section 37(2) and 38).
IllustrationA is continuously constructing on B’s plot of land, the Court can issue the order of temporary injunction till the final order of perpetual injunction so that B could be stopped from continuing the construction till the final orders. In the same illustration, when the Court on the final disposal of the case grants permanent injunction against A, the case will fall under this type of injunction.

Breach of an order of injunction

Although an injunction is a remedy in itself, in the event of a breach of this order, there needs to be another remedy to protect the complainant. The Latin term ‘Ubi jus ibi remedium’ which means where there is a right, there is a remedy, is often used in explaining this concept, as courts also need a remedy against the person who breaches their order to prevent further dishonouring of their orders. The remedies available for a breach of injunction are as follows:

  • Order 39 Rule 2A of the Civil Procedure Code– The CPC states that the court that granted the order or any other court to which the case was referred to may order the attachment of property of the individual, culpable of such disobedience, in view of the ‘disobedience of the breach of injunction’ or in view of the disobedience of the terms under which the injunction was granted. The court may also require the person to be detained in civil prison for a period of time not exceeding three months. However it must be noted that nothing attached under this order shall remain in force for a period of more than one year, and if at the end of one year the breach continues to occur, the attached property may be rented out, and the court will award compensation as it finds appropriate to the injured party and pay balance if any to the party entitled to it.
  • Order 21- Rule 32 of the Civil Procedure Code– It provides that a defendant who fails to comply with the decree will, in the first place, forfeit his right of ownership, and the Court may later seize his property at its discretion.

Damages in addition to an order of injunction

Section 40 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, specifically talks about the damages or compensation that can be given by the courts in lieu of or in addition to the injunction. The Section states that: 

(1) In a claim for a perpetual injunction pursuant to Section 38 or for a mandatory injunction pursuant to Section 39, the plaintiff may claim damages in addition to or in substitution for such injunction, and the court may, if it considers it appropriate, award such damages.

(2) No compensation under this provision shall be granted unless the claimant requests such relief in the plaint. Provided that where no such damages have been asserted in the plaint, the court shall, at any point of the trial, which may be just and fair for that argument, allow the plaintiff to amend the plaint.

(3) The dismissal of a claim to avoid the breach of a contract existing in favor of the plaintiff shall preclude his right to sue for damages for such infringement.

Grounds for refusal to grant injunctions

Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, mentions those cases wherein the Court cannot grant an injunction. An injunction cannot be granted in the following cases:

  • To stop any person from prosecuting a judicial proceeding pending at the institution of the suit of injunction. However, it does not cover a scenario when such a restraint is essential to prevent multiplicity of proceedings; 
  • To stop or restraint any person from applying to any legislative body;
  • Where the plaintiff has no personal interest in the case;
  • To stop any person from prosecuting any proceedings in any criminal matter;
  • To stop any person from prosecuting any proceedings in a Court which is not subordinate to the one from which the injunction is sought;
  • To stop an act on the ground of nuisance, for which it is not reasonably clear that it will create a nuisance;
  • To stop any continuing breach for which the plaintiff has acquiesced;
  • To stop the breach of contract, the performance of which would not be specifically enforced;
  • When the conduct of the plaintiff or any of his agents is such so as to disentitle him from the assistance of the court;
  • When an equally efficacious relief is available and can be obtained by any other means except in case of breach of trust;
  • If the same would hamper or delay the completion of any infrastructure project or interfere with any relevant facilities or services which are the subject matter of that project.

Landmark judgments on injunctions

Gujarat Bottling Co. Ltd v. Coca-Cola Co. (1995)

Facts of the case

In this case, Gujarat Bottling Company and Coca Cola Company entered into an agreement in September 1993 through which they agreed to bottle and market certain products that were brought by Coca Cola from Parle. As per Paragraph 14 of the contract, Gujarat Bottling Company was prohibited from dealing with the products of any other firm for the duration of the contract. It may be dissolved by providing a one year notice or by mutual consent. They entered into another contract in 1994 for the purpose of registering under the Registered User Agreement. It also lowered the length of prior notice for dissolution from a year to 90 days. 

Due to some problems with the expansion of Gujarat Bottling Company, the shares of the company were sold to Pepsico in 1995, which resulted in the surrender of ownership rights.  The new owners claimed that the new contract of 1994 replaced the previous contract of 1993. Thus, they gave 90 days notice to terminate the 1994 contract with Coca Cola. 

Issues raised

Two major issues were raised in this case:

  • Was the contract of 1993 replaced by the subsequent contract of 1994?
  • Whether the contract of 1993 violated Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872?

Judgement given

The Supreme Court observed that both contracts were made to serve different purposes. There was no such aim to substitute the previous contract between the parties, and it cannot be held to supplant the existing contract. Thus, the Gujarat Bottling Company failed to act in accordance with the contract by not giving one year’s notice. The court further observed that Paragraph 14 of the contract of 1993 did not restrict commerce since its effect was limited to the duration of the contract and is not violative of Section 27 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Thus, the court held that the grant of injunction was justified as it intended to prevent Pepsi from gaining advantage over Coca Cola and the conduct of Gujarat Bottling Company was held to be unfair. 

The Court in this case also considered the factors to be considered while dealing with the application of interlocutory injunction. The Court has to exercise its discretion by considering the balance of convenience, prima facie case, principle of equity and overall conduct of the parties.

Cotton Corporation of India v. United Industrial bank (1983)

Facts of the case

In this case, the party sought an injunction to restrain the other party from instituting or presenting a winding up petition under the Companies Act, 1956 and the Banking Regulations Act, 1949. 

Issue raised

Can an injunction order be granted by the court to prevent a party from instituting a proceeding in a court which is not subordinate to the present court?

Judgement given

The Supreme Court in this case dismissed the petition as it was not competent to grant an injunction restraining the defendant from instituting the proceedings in a court which is not subordinate to it as per Section 41(b) of the Specific Relief Act. In this case, no perpetual or even temporary injunction could be granted. 

Jujhar Singh v. Giani Talok Singh (1985)

Facts of the case

In this case, a son has prayed for a permanent injunction to prevent his father, who was the Karta of the Hindu Undivided Family, from selling the property of that Hindu Undivided Family.

Issue raised

Can the court grant a permanent injunction to prevent the Karta from selling the Hindu undivided family property?

Judgement given

This suit was set aside, and the High Court held it to be not maintainable because the son had other remedies, such as challenging the sale and getting it set aside afterwards. The remedy of injunction would be detrimental for the Karta as he would not be able to sell it even if he is required to do the same as a Karta to fulfil his legal obligation. 

Jai Dayal and Ors. v. Krishan Lal Garg and Anr. (1996)

Facts of the case

In this case, the appellant filed a suit against the respondent for perpetual and mandatory injunction to retrain him from blocking the passage of 5 feet and removal of obstruction between the house of appellant and the respondent. The trial court passed the decree of mandatory injunction to remove the obstruction and the perpetual injunction by restraining the respondent from blocking the passage of the appellants. This was also upheld by the appellate court. The execution was also done as per the orders of the court which was also upheld by the appellate court. 

Subsequently, a shop was constructed as an obstruction to the passage since it blocked that passage in question. Due to this, the appellants again filed the execution application. The trial court directed the respondents to remove the obstruction and issue an injunction not to disobey the mandatory injunction. It was stated that if the obstruction is not removed, the property will be attached, and respondents will be detained in civil prison. The Additional District Judge confirmed the same. However, in the second execution appeal, the decree was reversed. 

Issue raised

The question was whether the order of the High Court reversing the decree of injunction was correct in law.

Judgement given

It was contended that the view of the High Court was in error since it proceeded on the premise that the rights of the parties were required to be adjudicated as per Section 22 of the Easements Act. It was noted by the court that once the decree of perpetual injunction and mandatory injunction has become final, the decree is required to be obeyed by the judgement debtor. In case he did not obey the injunction, he is liable to be detained in the civil prison and to proceed against the property under attachment. Section 22 of the Easements Act could come into picture only when the question arises for the first time before the court. But, at present, the court had already allowed the perpetual and mandatory injunctions against the defendant, thus, the defendant cannot now take the defence that he has not obstructed the area. The view of the High Court was held to be clearly in error and appeal was allowed. The order of the trial court and the appellant court was restored. 


Injunction is an equity-based relief. It is completely at the court’s discretion to grant an injunction or to refuse it. The relief cannot be claimed as an affair of right however worthwhile the applicant’s case may be. The power to grant an injunction must, therefore, be exercised with the utmost prudence, vigilance, and care. It is an extraordinary and sensitive power that is associated with the risks of imposing losses or disadvantages upon the innocent party. Thus unlike all other things in this world, the grant of an injunction is also not absolute. 

One of the greatest hurdles in administering justice today is a delay. Delay in justice needs to be tackled by the joint efforts of all stakeholders. However, the harsh truth in today’s world is that we are progressing towards a society that is overrun by hordes of lawyers, hungry like locusts, and bridges of judges in numbers that have never been considered before. But it is wrong to believe that ordinary people want black-robed judges, well-dressed lawyers, fine-tuned courtrooms to resolve their disputes. People with legal issues, such as people with pain, want relief and want it as quickly as possible and an injunction is just one of the methods to help those people in seeking relief for upholding their rights.

The grant of injunction is not a matter of right but it is the full discretion of the courts and the parties cannot claim it as a right. The injunctions can be granted by the courts only when they feel that the case fulfils the criteria as laid down under the Acts for grant of injunctions and it should be as per the sound principles of law and ex debito justito. The following are few of the principles that are to be borne in mind while dealing with any such applications:

  • Where there is a right, there is a remedy (Ubi jus ibi remediam).
  • The one who is seeking equity must do equity and must come with clean hands (Ex turpi causa non oritur actio).
  • Equity follows the law (Aequitas sequitur legem).
  • Law aids those who are vigilant and not those who are indolent or sleeping over their rights (Vigilantibus Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt).

It can be said that the plaintiff has to establish the legal right and his exclusive possession to get the relief of injunction and the court has the power  and discretion to grant the injunction order to prevent the breach of obligation and protect the rights of the people. Since the power to grant injunction is discretionary, the refusal to grant the same by the court is, thus, proper and cannot be said to be arbitrary.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Under which law one can claim injunction against a party?

One can claim injunctions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

Can injunction be claimed as a matter of right?

No, injunctions are the discretionary relief given by the court and not a matter of right of the parties as has been held in various cases including Dalpat Kumar v. Prahlad Singh (1993)

What is the aim of injunctions?

The injunctions are aimed at either prohibiting or stopping a person from doing a particular act or mandating the doing of something by that person to maintain status quo of the parties and restore their earlier position.

Where are the grounds of refusal to grant injunctions given?

The grounds for refusal to grant injunctions are mentioned under Section 41 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

How many types of injunctions can the court grant?

There are broadly two types of injunctions namely, temporary and perpetual (or permanent) which can either be mandatory and prohibitory in nature.  

What are the three essentials to be proved for injunction application?

The plaintiff has to prove prima facie case and balance of convenience in his favour and that he will suffer an irreparable injury if the injunction is not granted by the courts.

From where did the concept of injunction come into picture?

The origin of this concept can be traced back to the equity jurisprudence of England that borrowed it from the Roman Law. 

Which type of injunctions can be claimed as per the Specific Relief Act?

Under the Specific Relief Act, 1963, one can file an application for temporary, perpetual or mandatory injunction.

Which injunctions are covered under the Code of Civil procedure?

The Code of Civil Procedure majorly covers temporary injunctions and interlocutory orders under Order XXXIX.

Is there any difference between interim and interlocutory injunction?

Interim Injunction is granted before a trial is concluded whereas interlocutory is granted after the trial but before the final decision is pronounced but both are a type of temporary injunctions as opposed to perpetual injunction.

Which order deals with the provisions relating to temporary injunctions?

Order XXXIX of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 deals with the provisions relating to temporary injunctions.



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