Judgments – Supreme Court – Order 39 CPC – Temporary Injunction

1. Essential Requirements: In Seema Arshad Zaheer and Others v Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Others, (2006) 5 SCC 282 the Supreme Court said:

The discretion of the court is exercised to grant a temporary injunction only when the following requirements are made out by the plaintiff :

(i) existence of a prima facie case as pleaded, necessitating protection of plaintiff’s rights by issue of a temporary injunction;

(ii) when the need for protection of plaintiff’s rights is compared with or weighed against the need for protection of defendant’s rights or likely infringement of defendant’s rights, the balance of convenience tilting in favour of plaintiff; and

(iii) clear possibility of irreparable injury being caused to plaintiff if the temporary injunction is not granted. In addition, temporary injunction being an equitable relief, the discretion to grant such relief will be exercised only when the plaintiff’s conduct is free from blame and he approaches the court with clean hands.

2. Equitable jurisdiction: Under order 39 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Court exercises an equitable jurisdiction and cannot overlook the conduct of the party as held by the Supreme Court in the case of M/s Gujrat Bottling Co. Ltd. and others v. Coca Cola Company and others reported in AIR 1995 Supreme Court Page-2372:

In this context, it would be relevant to mention that in the instant case GBC had approached the High Court for the injunction order, granted earlier, to be vacated. Under Order 39 of the Code of Civil Procedure, jurisdiction of the Court to interfere with an order of interlocutory or temporary injunction is purely equitable and, therefore, the Court, on being approached, will, apart from other considerations, also look to the conduct of the party invoking the jurisdiction of the Court, and may refuse to interfere unless his conduct was free from blame. Since the relief is wholly equitable in nature, the party invoking the jurisdiction of the Court has to show that he himself was not at fault and that he himself was not responsible for bringing about the state of things complained of and that he was not unfair or inequitable in his dealings with the party against whom he was seeking relief. His conduct should be fair and honest. These considerations will arise not only in respect of the person who seeks an order of injunction under Order 39 Rule 1 or Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, but also in respect of the party approaching the Court for vacating the ad interim or temporary injunction order already granted in the pending suit or proceedings.