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Alagammal and Ors vs. Ganesan and Anr
DATE OF JUDGMENT10th January,2024
COURTSupreme Court of India
APPELLANTAlagammal and Ors
RESPONDENTGanesan and Anr 
BENCHJustice Ahsanuddin Amanullah


In the case of Alagammal and Ors vs. Ganesan and Anr, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in an unprecedented manner set aside the judgment of Hon’ble Madras High Court while restoring the judgment of the Trial Court. In the proceedings, the court also substantively took note of the conduct of parties in this case and also examined the issue whether time was of essence in the contract or not. The ambit of Specific Relief Act,1963 was widely referred in this matter, where the respondents had instituted a suit for specific performance which was to be implied upon the appellants during the stage of Trial Court proceedings. This matter further contains various paramount aspects which were viewed and affirmed by the court such as the Agreement of sale,reports of the forensics,recovery of money, etc.

Facts of the Case:

  1. The appellants i.e 1, 2 and 3 entered into a registered agreement of sale on 22.11.1990 with the respondents for selling the suit property out of which  Rs 3000/- were paid for the consideration charged for Rs 21000/-. Further a period of six months was fixed for the total completion of the transaction. 
  2. Accordingly, a sale deed was executed with respect to the property in question with appellant no 7 on 05.11.1997 for a consideration of Rs 22000/-  by appellant no.s 1,2 and 3.
  3. A noticed dated 18.11.1997 was sent by the respondents to the appellants to call them upon to execute the said agreement.This eventually led to the respondents filing in the District Court, Dindigul for specific performance of the Agreement, recovery of money with interest and damages.
  4. The following suit was dismissed by order dated 10.09.2000 by the Principal District Munisif Judge, Dindigul.
  5. An appeal which was filed by the respondents bearing A.S. No. 258 of 2008 was first allowed by the first appellate court and further the same was upheld in the impugned judgment which was dated 28.04.2009 of the Hon’ble Madras High Court.

Issues Raised:

  1. Whether the Agreement between the buyer and seller discloses a fixed time period for making payment full by the buyer which is, in terms of recitals in the agreement of sale which was executed in the favour of the buyer by the seller.
  2. Whether the decision of the Hon’ble High Court as also first appellate court  requires changes or should it be upheld?
  3. Whether the judgment of the Trial Court should be restored?  

Contentions of the Appellant:

  1. The learned senior counsel while appearing on behalf of the appellant contended that the balance consideration amount of Rs 18000/- was to be paid within a period of six months which wasn’t done.
  2. The learned counsel further contended that the subsequent payments dated 16.12.1990 of an amount of Rs 1000/-, dated on 15.04.1991 of an amount of Rs 3000/- , dated on 17.09.1991 of an amount of Rs 2000/- were not paid to the appellants and as the finger print expert found that the thumb impression of appellant no.1 was not matching the actual sample impression of thumb of the appellant no. 1 and henceforth the main basis of considering that the time was not of essence gets eradicated.
  3. It was also duly submitted that the said agreement,stipulated the situation in case of default on the part of the respondents, then the advance paid would be forfeited and the entitlement for obtaining sale deed and the instance of getting possession free from all encumbrances would also end.
  4. The learned counsel also contended that willingness and readiness has to be specifically proved and pleaded under the ambit of Section 16(c)of the Specific Relief Act,1963 and there stands no question of drawing interference. Therefore, it was also submitted that the respondents were obliged to obtain stamp paper and draw up the sale deed for which there was no indication given in the plaint.
  5. The learned counsel also relied upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of  K.S Vidyanadam vs. Vairavan,1977 , where the courts have consequently held that in case of agreement of sale which is relating to immovable property, time is not the essence of contract unless it is specifically provided to that effect and as per the Act the period of limitation prescribed for a suit to be filed was 3 years.
  6. It was also further argued that in the aforementioned judgment, the terms of agreement were identical to the instant agreement, since there wasn’t any reference to any tenant residing in building, it was also further stated that within the time period of six months the plaintiff should purchase the stamp papers and also pay the balance consideration consequently after which the defendants shall execute the sale deed either in the name(s) proposed by/ in his name in front of the Sub Registrar.

Contentions of the Respondent:

  1. While opposing the appeal , the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent submitted that, appellant no.1 had filed Original suit no 551 of 1992 against her mother-in-law, husband, second wife of the husband, son of the second wife which was further decreed.It was also submitted by the learned counsel that even after accepting Rs 425/- above the amount which was indicated in the Agreement and after getting a decree for declaration and the possession of suit property in her favour dated 24.07.1996 as well, the appellants did not execute the Sale Deed consequent to which a Legal Notice was sent to her on 18.11.1997.As a result, since no action was taken, the respondents were compelled to file a suit for specific performance on 23.03.1998.
  2. It was argued that the main intention of both the parties was not only to execute the Sale Deed but also to handover the possession which is said to be an implied term of each sale of immovable property and therefore on 24.07.1996 , the appellant concerned became worthy of handling the possession.
  3. It was also contended by the learned counsel on the issue whether time was of essence of the contract, the agreement also depended on the conduct of the parties with each other whereas in the present scenario, much after the stipulated time when the money was accepted by the Appellant no 1, it was clear that the validity of the Agreement, so as to conclude in sale couldn’t has been said to be extinguished, as by later accepting money, the time which was indicated for the completion of transaction by the execution of Sale Deed has been relaxed in this manner.
  4. It was also submitted by the learned counsel, where he relied upon the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Godhra Electric Company Limited vs. The State of Gujarat(1975), where the relevant paragraphs were from 11 to 16; of The Supreme Court of United Kingdom dated 05.03.2014 which was The Commissioners for her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs vs. Secret Hotels2 Limited, where paragraph 33 was considered relevant. 


After thoroughly examining the matter, the court found that the judgment which is impugned cannot be sustained. After reviewing the agreement it was considered by the court that for the property in question, the respondents were ready to pay Rs 21000/- to the appellants, where out of which as earnest money Rs 3000/- was already paid and the rest balance amount was to be paid within six months. The court indicated that there was an existence of an onus of paying the entire balance amount of Rs 18000/- to the appellant no.1 by the respondent no.1. It is also not the case that there had been an offer by the respondents to pay the balance amount before the expiry of the period of six months. It was considered in the present case, if judged as per the conduct of the parties, specially the appellants, then considering all above, time would not be of essence of the contract. For all the reasons aforementioned, the impugned judgment of the Hon’ble High Court which

was also the judgment of the First Appellate Court was set aside. Henceforth the order of the Trial Court was restored and revived. Accordingly the appeal was allowed with no costs proposed, keeping in mind the facts and circumstances. 


In the following case, the question revolves as to whether the Agreement which was dated 22.11.1990,which also discloses a set time for making full payments by the respondents which is in terms of the agreement for sale executed in the favour of respondents by appellant no 1. The Court was also expected to consider another aspect of paramount importance i.e the matter becomes since the relief for cancellation of Sale Deed was even not sought at the First Appeal Stage or the Second Appeal Stage, despite ignorance of the fact that law provides and permits for such course of action. Also the legal notice dated 18.07.1997 was issued after seven months. Another substantive reason which tilted this judgment in to the favour of the Appellant was that as per the forensic expert the fingerprints of the Appellant no.1 did not match with the sample fingerprints submitted, henceforth which proved that the whole transaction was inadmissible as it was based on the cornerstone of a forged document, henceforth a rightful decision was delivered in this matter.


In the case of Alagammal and Ors vs.Ganesan and Anr, the powerful bench consisting of Justice Ahsannudin Amanullah known for delivering bold decisions which can be clearly seen from cases such as Sudhir Singh and Ors vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. In the context of the present matter, the contentions of the respondent became self-contradictory specially in the regard of cause of action arising after such a decree in the favour of the appellant. However, the matter was handled very skillfully by the respected justice, while upholding the principles of natural justice and the ethos of legal realms of contracts.


  1. https://digiscr.sci.gov.in/admin/judgement_file/judgement_pdf/2024/volume%201/Part%20II/2024_1_374-389_1706526165.pdf  
  2. https://digiscr.sci.gov.in/view_judgment?id=MzY0NzU= 
  3. https://updates.manupatra.com/newsroom/trans/viewdoc.aspx?i=ptiDy4oUEz7W4RhahAaT6h93RFUeTV40hI1vo81W7g5uCfRP5tL0pktJVchar(43)F5g3qk&id=zwKDa4S8QbBCBSkXPhUPwdhgNS/662rslY6c6/vT6jrFBAP/char(43)d3h76VSbQkNvRCH8eOaAuchar(43)52B9RgCyd8qchar(43)char(43)Pw== 

~ This Article is written by Krishav Dwivedi, a student at Vivekanand Education Society’s College of Law; Intern at Legal Vidhiya.

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